Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world today.
Of the estimated 39 million people who are blind, 20 million suffer from cataract blindness.
The vast majority of these live in the developing nations of the world.
While cataract blindness is curable through surgery, most of these remain blind because of poverty and a lack of access to basic eye care and surgery. The consequences of blindness are intense human and economic suffering. Using the implantation of intraocular lenses, the cure for cataract blindness involves a simple, safe surgery that is both effective and cost efficient. The need is to deliver this sight-giving surgery to poor people in developing countries.
The World Cataract Foundation provides humanitarian services helping the world to see by eliminating cataract blindness through surgery, training and equipping.
The vision, however, will become reality only with the compassion and help of many friends and partners in helping the world to see.
Throughout its history, the World Cataract Foundation has made notable strides in accomplishing its mission of helping the world to see. The WCF was at the forefront of the development and production of a cost efficient intraocular lens to be used in surgical implants as a cure for cataract blindness in the developing world. The volunteer surgery teams have given the gift of sight to thousands by performing more than 10,000 surgeries. Sixty-two ophthalmologists, three nurses, and one technician have participated in the Medical Personnel Exchange Program.
Using the implantation of intraocular lenses, the cure for cataract blindness involves a simple, safe surgery that is both effective and cost efficient. The need is to deliver this sight-giving surgery to poor people in developing countries.
The concept for World Cataract Foundation was first formed in 1978 as the result of a challenge issued at the International Intraocular Implant Club (IIIC) for the production of inexpensive, high quality intraocular lenses for use around the world in the cure of cataract blindness. Dr. Jerre M. Freeman accepted this challenge and began to develop a universal lens and to facilitate the manufacture of intraocular lenses. A plant was opened in Deli, India which produces IOLs which sell for less than $15. Manufacturing in other nations has followed making the challenge a reality.As it became apparent that the production of lenses played just a part in the challenge of eliminating cataract blindness, the WCF expanded its mission and programs. Volunteer surgery teams of ophthalmologists and support personnel were formed to provide free cataract surgery for the impoverished in developing countries. To date, the WCF has sent teams to more than twenty-five countries. These teams have given the gift of sight to thousands.Through the WCF Medical Personnel Exchange Program, the Foundation sponsors doctors from developing parts of the world for advanced ophthalmological training at Memphis Eye and Cataract Associates (MECA) and the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute.