Video: The Pediatric Cataract Initiative
Every year, hundreds of thousands of infants are born with or soon develop cataract, a clouding of the lens of one or both eyes. While the disease occurs worldwide, it is 10 times more common in developing countries. Fortunately, the disease can be treated and even prevented with early detection, surgery in a well-equipped facility, and frequent follow-up eye and health care visits. But for families in many poor communities in Africa and Asia, a child’s cataract often is not detected or the family cannot afford to access specialized, frequent follow-up care required.
This was the case for 7-year-old Pradip Tigga of rural West Bengal, India. “It was really hard to take Pradip to private hospital because of the financial problems,” said Pradip’s mother. Because of cases like Pradip’s and others like it, Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) launched the Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI) in 2010, a program aimed at improving eye care for children.
In 2012, PCI awarded a US$150,000 grant to the Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital in West Bengal, India. The grant allowed the hospital to train local teachers, community health workers and primary care givers to screen and refer children with pediatric cataract and to train hospital staff and purchase equipment to improve cataract treatment and provide free care for patients such as young Pradip. “Now, Pradip is back to school and he can play, read and walk without anybody’s support. It is our wish that he is a good student and literate, successful person,” said Pradip’s mother, beaming.
Last week, LCIF partner Bausch + Lomb celebrated its Global Day of Caring by celebrating our partnership through the PCI. Please watch and share the video above about the initiative.