A powerful partnership to prevent and treat pediatric cataract
Every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with a cataract in one or both eyes. This condition is known as pediatric cataract, and can lead to severe vision loss—or even blindness. But not only is pediatric cataract treatable, it is often preventable. Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) are partnering on the Pediatric Cataract Initiative to identify, fund and promote innovative methods of overcoming pediatric cataract for the long-term benefit of children, their families and their communities.
Launched in June 2010, the Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI) is the first dedicated global effort aimed at preventing and treating cataract in children. Bausch + Lomb has awarded LCIF with a US$350,000 grant to launch this partnership program. The pilot year’s capacity-building grant will select a partner institution in China, where at least 40,000 children are estimated to suffer from pediatric cataract. When babies and children are identified and successfully treated with the proper follow-up care, many, if not all, will grow into fully sighted adults requiring minimal additional vision correction.
Working to help tomorrow’s children
PCI is also funding basic research initiatives aimed at better understanding the causes of pediatric cataract and/or its treatment. The first two research grants of US$50,000 each are focusing on this issue in Nepal (and nearby states in India) and Nigeria. An estimated 1.4 million children are blind worldwide, 1 million of whom live in Asia and 300,000 in Africa. The prevalence of pediatric cataract in developing countries can be 10 times more common than in developed nations.
After a busy pilot year, LCIF and Bausch + Lomb will be helping people see, by continuing the important work of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative into 2012.