Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world and in Armenia.
As the population begins to age and life expectancy increases, it is imperative that Armenia address cataract surgical coverage. Today approximately 91,000 Armenians or 30 percent of the population, age 65 and over, have cataracts in one or both eyes, causing partial or complete blindness. By 2050, a little more than 30 years from now, that number will more than double – an increase of nearly 150 percent or 221,200 Armenians. Because cataract surgery is so limited in Armenia – just 24 percent coverage – most people (76 percent) go without care leaving thousands visually disabled. In the United States people accept cataract surgery as a part of aging and it is a very common procedure. Sadly, in Armenia, many people accept blindness as a part of growing older because they have no access to cataract surgery.
Two years ago, Umud started to have problems with his eyes. It started with a cataract and then many other problems started to occur with his vision. As the complications mounted, the doctors had no choice but to remove his corneas. “It has been seven months since I was able to see at all. After doctors removed my corneas, my only hope for being able to see again was to wait for the corneal transplants. It is very hard to lose your sight all of a sudden. I have already started to forget the faces of my dear ones in my memory,” said Umud.
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