Havana.- Since its creation on July 10, 2004 in Cuba, and extended to more than 40 ophthalmology centers in Latin America and Africa, Mission Miracle has restored or improved the quality of vision to over three million people in 34 countries.
Some 285 million people live with low vision and blindness, of which 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment, according to Dr. Reynaldo Ríos, deputy director of the Ramon Pando Ferrer Ophthalmology Institute in Havana.
Ninety percent of blind people live in low-income countries; however, 80 percent of visual impairment is easily treatable and / or preventable according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Various international sources and a study in Havana in 2005 and 2012 confirm that among the leading causes of blindness in the world and in Cuba we find cataract and glaucoma, retinal diseases (diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration).
In the past 20 years the number of blind persons due to infectious diseases has been greatly reduced, and according to estimates there are about 19 million children with visual impairments.
Nearly 65 percent of all people with this last limitation are over 50 years old, a group bracket that represents 20 percent of the world population.
The fast increase of population aging on the planet increase brings about increased risk of visual impairment related to age.
Cuban ophthalmology is linked to other organizations for the prevention of blindness, including the international initiative for the prevention and control of this disease known as “Vision 20/20 Right to See”, promoted by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization, among others.
Over the last two years Cuba carried out more than 35,000 cataract operations, and is among the first countries with a rate of 3,361 per million persons, which exceeds the proposal of the WHO, that is three thousand surgeries for that disease, emphasized Ríos. (acn)