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Invited Commentary
February 2017

Combating Cataract Blindness

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • 2Ophthalmology, Wilmer Institute, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 4Aravind Eye Care System, Madurai, India
  • 5Aravind Eye Hospital and Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Pondicherry, India

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(2):94-95. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4779

Nearly 1 of every 25 people (almost 285 million people) are either visually impaired or blind. Cataract, after refractive error, is the second most common cause of reversible visual impairment and 90% of those compromised are in less developed countries.1 Vision loss due to cataract not only affects an individual’s productivity and sense of self-worth, it is associated with an increased risk of being unemployed, having a lower-status job, living alone, and having mental health problems.2 Having a family member who is disabled may often require the use of another family member to care for the individual, taking the second family member out of school or the work force. Additionally, those with visually disabling cataract are more likely to die prematurely.

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