It seems China is everywhere in the news recently. From stories on its booming economy to reports on its massive modernization drive complete with gleaming new hotels and skyscrapers. Despite these great advancements, elderly people living in some of China’s poor, rural areas − where modernization has yet to arrive − are still suffering from a lack of basic eye care. In fact, there is an unacceptably high rate of cataract blindness in these areas, which is all the more discouraging since cataract surgery is a proven solution that can correct this condition.
Helen Keller International is doing something about the backlog of people who need help. By improving access to affordable, high-quality cataract surgery and services for low-income residents, we have helped ensure over 12,000 sight-restoring cataract surgeries in China since 2006!
Watch the video below to see how Mr. Li, a rice farmer who had been blind for 20 years, had his sight restored thanks to a cataract surgery performed at an HKI-funded clinic, and meet Sany, a young Chinese woman who was trained through HKI’s program at a partner clinic in South China.
After watching this video, I can’t help but think of how different the reality is in China versus the U.S. Cataract surgery here is considered routine; you rarely hear about someone going blind from a cataract. But cataract is still the world’s leading cause of blindness. We can’t cure it – or prevent it from happening − but we can treat it. The procedure is not that complicated and doesn’t have to be expensive. These facts inspire me to do what I can to help the 18 million people worldwide who are blind with cataract.
You can read more about more about our cataract treatment programs and maybe even consider making a donation. With your help, we can train even more surgeons and nurses, and ensure that necessary medical equipment reaches poor, underserved communities like those in rural China.
What to know more about cataract? Here are some additional resources:
- Facts About Cataract from the National Eye Institute: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp
- World Health Organization’s Cataract Page: http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html