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Nearly half a million cataract patients in SL

There are nearly 500,000 cataract patients in Sri Lanka and between 100,000 and 150,000 patients have cataract in both eyes, Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr Palitha Maheepala said. Around 150,000 of cataract patients are senior citizens and end up blind eventually. Fifty percent among them have been reported from under developed rural areas from low income families, he said. Dr Maheepala said around 160,000 Sri Lankan children suffer from various defects in their vision.

“We have taken measures to treat 100 adults suffering from cataract in the Colombo area under the Vision 2020 programme implemented by the Health Ministry. Rs 300 million has been donated to the Vision 2020 programme. This helped us to carry out cataract and lens replacement surgeries of 100 adults,” he said.

Dr Maheepala said the surgeries were performed by specialist doctor Mangala Gamage at the Colombo Natioal Eye Hospital yesterday.

The Vision 2020 organised this programme along with Sri Lanka Helpage Institute. Helpage agreed to provide eye lenses for another 1,000 adults while several institutes agreed to provides lenses for 3,000 adults as well.

Over 12,000 free cataract operations had been performed under this programme so far. Free spectacles were also provided to 21,000 schoolchildren.

Several private organisations and NGOs too assisted in this programme, the Additional Secretary said.
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