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December 1991

Cataract Blindness: What to Do?

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md

Arch Ophthalmol. 1991;109(12):1665-1666. doi:10.1001/archopht.1991.01080120049022

Blindness due to cataract is one of the most challenging issues facing the ophthalmic community. Unlike the other leading causes of blindness, cataract has a straightforward and highly effective treatment that can restore functional vision under ideal conditions. The issues, where there are uncertainties, are those of health care provision, patient recruitment, and manpower. Cataract is the single leading cause of blindness worldwide, and yet, in some areas, fewer than 10% of these curably blind patients receive services.1,2 Perhaps at some future time, identification of risk factors whose correction may prevent or delay the progression of cataract could result in substantial reduction in the need for surgery.3 For the present, however, surgical treatment remains the hope for the cataract blind. A year ago, an editorial in the Archives discussed possible alternative approaches to large-scale cataract surgery for areas with serious "cataract backlog."4 The use of extracapsular cataract

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