For the past few decades, the Indian government’s National Programme for the Control of Blindness has been working to reach those afflicted with cataracts, all over the country. R.V. Ravichandran is general manager for operations at Appasamy Associates Group. “Tanks to the government program,” he tells me, “once someone with cataracts is in the system—even someone in a very remote location—they may only have to wait a week or two for an operation to restore their sight. In the UK, by comparison, I gather it can take up to several weeks.” Cataracts, he explains, are common in India for many reasons. “Ultraviolet radia-
tion is a principal cause,” he says. “People spend a lot of their lives outside in very bright sunshine, so by the time they are elderly, many need surgery.” Poor diet is also a cause, affecting all age groups, not just seniors. Diet for a great number of people in India varies little from the national staples of Roti bread and rice. Seafood is a principal source of iodine, but in inland areas where fish is scarce, iodine deficiency is common. As a result, even the very young can develop the milky, opaque clouds that reduce to nothing their view of the world.
In India, cataracts are the most common cause of preventable blindness; one company in particular makes the equipment the country’s ophthalmologists rely on to treat the afflicted.
Appasamy makes 80% of the intraocular lenses used in India to treat patients with cataracts. Appasamy makes 80% of the intraocular lenses used in India to treat patients
with cataracts. A replacement intraocular lens is a flexible, plastic insert with positioning and holding struts called haptics. Te patient’s own lens is removed— usually aſter it is cryogenically frozen—and the new one is implanted inside the capsular bag of the eye. Oſten, especially where the patient is elderly, the resulting
Matt Bailey Contributing Writer Haas Automation Inc. Oxnard, CA