July 1994

Attacking the Backlog of India's Curable BlindThe Aravind Eye Hospital Model

Author Affiliations

From the Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India (Drs Natchiar and Krishnaswamy and Mr Thulasiraj), and the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Hygiene and Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md (Dr Robin).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(7):987-993. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090190135035

The number of individuals in developing nations with preventable blindness from cataract and other disorders is increasing. New programs incorporating local customs and efficiently using available resources must be created to prevent the escalation of blindness and to rehabilitate patients already disabled with cataracts. We describe a system of high-quality, high-volume, cost-effective cataract surgery, using screening eye camps and a resident hospital. This has enabled us to provide efficient low-cost cataract surgery and overcome barriers of adequate eye care in southern India. We have been successful in locating patients with treatable eye problems, educating them about the availability of ophthalmic care, and providing free eye care. Our structure stresses the following: community involvement, identification of individuals most likely to benefit from screening, efficient utilization of both medical and paramedical personnel, and a streamlined approach to screening patients. This system may be capable of modification for use in other developing areas to decrease the backlog of cataract blindness.