Untreated cataract causes maximum blindness in India

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 10, 2019 Published on October 10, 2019

The survey noted that there were various reasons for inability of patients to get their cataract treated including fear of surgery and cost of treatment.

Untreated cataract cases are the main cause of blindness in India, in up to 66.2 per cent cases. This was revealed in a report prepared by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, after examining 85,135 persons over 50 years of age between 2015 to 2019 through door-to-door survey.

The survey revealed that 1.99 per cent were blind, 12.92 per cent have severe visual impairment and 9.81 per cent have moderate visual impairment. While untreated cataract has caused blindness in 66.2 per cent cases.

The report noted that majority of cataract surgeries took place in non-governmental organisations or private set-ups. Only 39.3 per cent underwent cataract surgery in government clinics. It noted that there were various reasons for inability of patients to get their cataract treated including no need felt by the patient to operate, fear of surgery, cost of treatment or treatment denied by provider or that the patient was unaware that treatment is possible. More reasons included the fact that there was no one to accompany, seasonal preferences or personal reasons.

Other reasons for blindness were under 7 per cent in each category like cataract surgical complications, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, corneal opacities and so on.

Higher prevalence of blindness was noticed in illiterates (3.23 per cent) as compared to 0.43 per cent among 10 pass and above. Also the report states that it is more prevalent in rural population (2.14 per cent) as compared to 1.80 per cent in rural populace. Blindness was lowest in Thrissur district (Kerala) and in Thoubal district (Manipur) whereas Bijnor distirct in Uttar Pradesh had the highest prevalence.

Of the 1.3 billion population in India, an estimated 47,99,274 persons are blind. The prevalence of blindness stands at 360 patients per one lakh population. Of these, 5,81,975 blind persons were between 0 to 49 years while 42,17,299 are over 50 years.


Published on October 10, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor