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May 1994

Ophthalmology in Bulgaria

Author Affiliations

From the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (Drs Gieser and West), and the Center for Sight, Sofia, Bulgaria (Dr Vassileva). Dr West is a senior scientist with Research to Prevent Blindness Inc, New York, NY.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(5):687-690. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090170135036

Bulgaria faces a marked shortage of ophthalmic resources. There are over 600 ophthalmologists for this Balkan nation of 8.9 million, giving Bulgaria a ratio of ophthalmologists to overall population that is similar to that of the United States; however, less than 20% of these ophthalmologists perform surgery. No formal residency or fellowship training programs exist in the country. Ophthalmic textbooks and journals are written predominantly in Russian and are in short supply. Pharmaceutical supplies are extremely limited. The leading cause of blindness in Bulgaria is cataracts that have not been treated surgically. Most cataracts are removed with intracapsular extraction. However, in the major cities, extracapsular cataract extraction with implantation of intraocular lenses is available.