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Sunday, 12 October 2014

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High cost of artificial lens hits cataract patients

Most cataract patients are virtually blind as they cannot afford the artificial lens (intra-occular) implanted in the eye after surgery, Co-ordinator Vision 2020 Secretariat, Ministry of Health Dr Asela Abeydeera told the Sunday Observer.

He said the imported lens was expensive and beyond the reach of many needy patients who were unable to undergo surgery. "They remain blind till they die and are a burden to their carers and society, whereas with surgery their sight could have been restored immediately", he said.

Cataract surgery is performed free in all state hospitals but the lens had to be purchased. "The costs vary from Rs 25,000 to over Rs 35,000 or more if purchased privately. However, Vision 2020 can buy the same lens at Rs 3,500 each. We appeal to the private sector and the public to help a needy blind person undergo cataract surgery by donating Rs 3,500. All donations will be acknowledged", Director General Health Services, Dr P.G. Maheepala told a discussion on Thursday on preventing avoidable blindness at the Health Education Bureau.

 

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