India, with 29 states and seven union territories, has a combined population of a little more than one billion and represents about one-sixth of the world's population. India has more blind people than any other country in the world. Of the 45 million blind people worldwide, Indian citizens number 12 million, 1 million of whom are children. India carries a significant proportion of the world's blindness and visual impairment, with nearly 6.7 million blind people.
Considering the fact that almost 70 percent of blindness is curable, these numbers speak volumes for the poor infrastructure and facilities available in the eye care sector in the county, leading to a very large un-served population. The loss of productivity, as a result, is huge for India – the cost of blindness in the county equals US$ 3 billion annually. The situation in North India in general and Uttar Pradesh in particular is even more dismal. The state has a 1.15 percent prevalence of blindness. A closer look at the causes for this high rate of blindness - cataract (73 percent); refractive errors (9 percent); glaucoma (8 percent); corneal opacity (1 percent); surgical complications (2 percent); others (8 percent) – clearly indicates that with adequate eye care facilities and infrastructure this blindness is preventable and curable and will add considerable amount of GDP to the country, by restoring vision of preventable blindness of the country.
To address this huge gap in ophthalmic services for the poor, Ishwar Charitable Trust (ICT) was established in 1982 by Dr. Sushil Choudhry in the name of his Late. Mother Smt. Ishwar Choudhry. ICARE Eye Hospital was established in 1993 in Noida under the ICT for providingfree of cost eye care services to rural/urban underprivileged communities in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Barriers prevent both women and men from receiving surgery and they are often more problematic for women. They include:
Cost of surgery: Women often have less access to family financial resources to pay for eye care or transportation to reach services.
Inability to travel to a surgical facility: Have fewer options for travel than men. Older women may require assistance, which poor families cannot provide.
Differences in the perceived value of surgery: Cataract is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of ageing and women are less likely to have social support in a family to seek care.
Lack of access to information and resources: Female literacy is often lower than male, especially among the elderly. Women are less likely to know about the possibility of treatment for eye disease or where to go to receive it.
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