Modern surgery for global cataract blindness: preliminary considerations

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998 Jan;116(1):90-2. doi: 10.1001/archopht.116.1.90.


Unoperated cataract in the developing world remains ophthalmology's major unsolved problem. Recent developments have brought into question the assumptions of those who have thought that extracapsular surgery with implantation of a posterior chamber intraocular lens is an unrealistic approach to the treatment of global cataract blindness. High-quality 1-piece posterior chamber intraocular lenses are being manufactured locally for approximately $10 each. Most ophthalmologists can be trained to perform extracapsular surgery in a 1-month course. This process is particularly effective if outstanding local surgeons receive intensive training to become instructors. While the incidence and treatment of posterior capsule opacification requires further study, the development of a low-cost YAG laser may be a solution. Imaginative ways to recover costs will need to be developed if the staggering prevalence of cataract blindness is to be effectively addressed. The improved result of modern surgery may make patients more willing to pay for their operation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control*
  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract Extraction* / economics
  • Cataract Extraction* / trends
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / economics
  • Laser Therapy / trends
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular* / economics
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular* / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors