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Perspective on ophthalmic support in countries of the developing world

Authors

  • James Muecke FRANZCO,

    Corresponding author
    1. Discipline of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. Department of Ophthalmology, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    3. Sight For All Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    • South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • David IT Sia MBChB,

    1. South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. Discipline of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    3. Sight For All Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Henry Newland FRANZCO,

    1. South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. Discipline of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    3. Sight For All Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Robert J Casson PhD FRANZCO,

    1. South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. Discipline of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    3. Sight For All Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Dinesh Selva FRANZCO

    1. South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. Discipline of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    3. Sight For All Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Competing/conflicts of interest: No stated conflict of interest.
  • Funding sources: No stated funding sources.

Correspondence: Dr James Muecke, South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: jsmuecke@bigpond.com

Abstract

There are over 300 million people living in the world today who are visually impaired and a further 45 million who are blind. The large majority (90%) of these people live in developing countries, and up to 75% of blindness are avoidable. With cataracts being the major cause of blindness and visual impairment, many ophthalmic aid programmes are aimed at alleviating the enormous burden caused by this readily treatable disease. Having said that, caution should be exercised that short surgical visits to remote rural areas that are not coordinated with local national eye care managers should be discouraged because they do little for the development of sustainable eye care programmes. With this in view, it has become imperative to design blindness prevention and ophthalmic support programmes that are workable, comprehensive, economical and sustainable.

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