Access to cataract surgery still low among women in India
HYDERABAD, India — Despite the increased rate of surgery performed in the last 10 years, cataract remains a leading cause of blindness in India, particularly among women, according to one surgeon here.
More modern techniques such as microincision phaco and implantation of premium IOLs have been introduced in recent times, but only a very small part of the population can afford the increased costs.
“High charges are in fact a barrier, and this is particularly true for women. The family would rather invest on men, as a better vision is considered important for the breadwinners,” Kuldeep Dole, MD, said at the joint meeting of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and All India Ophthalmological Society.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out on a population of 1,890 patients attending a tertiary hospital to assess the enabling factors and barriers to cataract surgery.
“The survey revealed quite clearly that women wait longer than men to have surgery. They seek help only when vision is truly a problem and more often consider eye check-ups not a priority compared to other ‘more important’ health issues,” Dole said.
Acceptance of earlier intervention among women was correlated with increased awareness about the disease created by nearby outreach activities.
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