Blindness has been one of the major disabilities prevalent in Pakistan, putting several people into risk. Blindness brings in severe repercussions that just do not disable a person from seeing; it also leads them to towards depression, loneliness and even poverty where poverty struck breadwinners are not able to afford treatment for themselves or their other family members. WHO estimates that globally, every second an adult goes blind and a child becomes blind every minute. The Ministry of Health in Pakistan has constituted a National Committee for Prevention of Blindness.
The National Blindness Survey indicated that the national prevalence rate is at 1% which means that at least 1.5 million Pakistan are blind in both eyes, two thirds of these people are women. Following were the main causes of blindness that were found:
- Cataract: Clouding of the lens in the eye – 53%
- Scarring of the Cornea (clear part of the eye) – 14%
- Glaucoma: The nerve of the eye is affected by pressure in the eyeball – 7%
- Refractive errors i.e. need for spectacles – 3%
- Macular degeneration: A disease of ageing that affects the light sensitive part of the eye – 2%
All of the above blinding diseases mentioned above can either be avoided or can be helped with optical devices. As per the survey, following are the number of blind persons in each province of Pakistan:
- Punjab: 945,000
- Sindh: 310,000
- KPK: 183,000
- Balochistan: 85,000
- Federal: 5,600
Based on the finding of national surveys, and the surge in population, it can be easily concluded that eye care service delivery needs to be expanded in Pakistan, focusing principally on high‐quality cataract surgery and aftercare, and on increased capacity for the correction of refractive errors. This recommendation is consistent with the prioritized areas of action for the region as outlined by the WHO South‐East Asia policy VISION 2020: The Right to Sight. The more challenging conditions to control, namely glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, are also emerging as priorities.
If we look into the condition of Mandi Bahauddin and Sargodha, it can be conveniently said that the out of a combined population of over 2 Million in both the districts, over 20,000 people have lost their eyesight completely due to the above mentioned reasons. The objective of the hospital is to reduce the blindness prevalence rate in the districts mentioned above through quality healthcare services on affordable rates.