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 •Can be completed within 20 minutes
Eyeball returns to the original shape only after 3-5 weeks •After this the patient is fitted with aphakic spectacles or thick lenses what improve vision 2.Extracapsular surgery with intraocular lens (ECCE)

Always performed under an operating microscope
Requires close to 30 minutes
Patients do not require corrective spectacles to restore vision •Quality of restored sight is near natural & free of distortion •Patients usually experience significant improvement in sight within days of operation Note: About 30% of cataract surgeries in India performed by government sector free of cost, 40% of cataract surgeries were performed by private sector for a fee, 30% performed free of cost by volunteer groups & NGOs. 70% of the Indian population was below poverty line. Also, India had very less no. of ophthalmologists (only 8000). 1970 – 20 bed Aravind Eye hospital opened which performed all typed of eye surgery at a reasonable cost. Three people involved were Dr. Venkataswamy, Dr. Nam (brother in law) & Dr. Natchiar (his sister) 1977 – 30 bed annex opened for patients convalescing after surgery 1978 – 70 bed free hospital opened

1981 – Main hospital with 250 beds commences. It has 4 major...
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