The Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India : in Service for Sight

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The Problem of blindness - Figures and Facts:
• As of 1992: Total 32 billion blind people in the world out of which 20 million are in Asia. India also had 20 million blind people out of which only 12 million were classified as blind.
• Major cause of blindness being cataract esp. In developing countries accounting for nearly 75% of all cases in Asia. 80% of cataracts are age related (starts with 45 years and increases dramatically after 65 years of age)
Cataract as a major cause of blindness
Cataract removal is a routine operation with a 95% chance of success. Two techniques used:
1. Intracapsular surgery without intraocular lens (ICCE)
• Most widely used
• Performed without an operating microscope & uses simple instruments
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This was about Rs. 200 per patient. Aravind bore the cost of surgery & medicines. Reasons for which this had to be done was that people did not go for surgery even after recommendation for the following reasons:

- Still have vision, however diminished
- Can’t afford food & transportation
- Can’t leave family
- Fear of surgery
- No one to accompany
- Family opposition
• Recently there was a conscious effort to move away from surgical camps because of the cost involved as well as lower quality of service provided. For e.g. makeshift theatres were not air-conditioned, cleanliness & hygiene were not up to the hospital standards, patient amenities were inferior, post-operative complications were difficult to monitor
• 10 member team of camp organizers was in place. They reported to the camp manager. They worked closely with camp sponsors, helping & guiding them in publicity, organising logistics, arranging physical facilities etc. They were given districts and met once in a week at Madurai under the chairmanship of Dr. Venkataswamy.
The response rate of the camp has improved. From 15% earlier, 83% of the people now are taking surgery when advised to do so.

Q.2. What has been the role of

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