UW eye doctor gives world better vision
"In the past 25 years, the cases of avoidable blindness have doubled to 35 million presently. At this rate, by 2020 the number will double again to 70 million," he explains. But in the face of those statistics, he finds great hope: Aided by recent improvements in lens manufacturing and surgical techniques, 90 percent are curable with simple cataract surgery that costs $20 and takes 20 minutes of surgery.
There have been roadblocks along the way, however. Cataract surgery removes the clouded eye lens and replaces it with a synthetic intraocular lens. When CBF started the eye camps, these lenses cost about $300, making them "unaffordable" for the program.
In 1992, CBF and its partners helped create Aurolab, an intraocluar lens and suture factory in Madurai, India. The factory produces high quality lenses and sutures at a low cost, making the surgery available to poor people throughout the world. At $2.50 per lens and $1.00 per suture, Aurolab distributes the supplies to not-for-profit organizations in 120 countries.
Now that's the kind of charity -- and innovation -- I can get behind. Way to go Dr. Suresh Chandra!