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June 1989

Ophthalmology in India

Author Affiliations

Madurai, India

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(6):931-932. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010953050

India, an independent country since 1947, has the second highest population in the world. Nearly 70% of its 785 million people live in rural areas, and many are poor (the gross national income per capita is only $250). Health care is the responsibility of both the national and state governments; there are 26 states and five centrally administered areas called union territories.

Scarcity of ophthalmologic care in the poor, remote rural areas, due to problems of communication and lack of transport facilities, has made it difficult for these people to get an early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. Consequently, there is a high prevalence of blindness in the country. A 1972-1973 survey by the Indian Council for Medical Research estimated that there were 9 million blind persons in India.1 Blindness was then defined as a visual acuity less than 6/60 (20/200) in the best corrected eye. The World

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