Charity program offers cataract treatment for elderly residents in rural areas

Cai Wenjun
A joint charity project from the Qingpu District government and Shanghai Yida Hospital, is offering cataract diagnosis and treatment to elderly residents in Shanghai's rural areas.
Cai Wenjun

Elderly residents in rural areas, with serious cataracts, are now able to receive surgery thanks to a charity program launched by Qingpu District and Shanghai Yida Hospital.

A 96-year-old man with heart disease and serious cataracts is now able to see clearly after suffering from poor vision for over 20 years.

He had visited hospitals several times but failed to receive treatment due to his age and hearing problem.

Thanks to the charity program, a medical team went to Huaxin Town, where he lives, and offered treatment.

"The patient is almost blind and the cataract has worsened to grade-five, the most serious level," said Dr Chen Chaoli from Shanghai Yida Hospital's ophthalmology department. "Because of his old age and heart problem, we organized multidisciplinary consultation and worked out a detailed plan to ensure the safety and success of the surgery. Old age and underlying disease shouldn't prohibit cataract treatment, but we still need to be careful."

Experts said elderly people should visit the hospital for cataract diagnosis and treatment after suffering symptoms instead of delaying treatment. "Serious cataracts may cause other eye diseases like glaucoma. Patients won't only suffer blurry vision but also create more difficulties in treatment. When the cataract has influenced the vision, patients can consider receiving surgery."

According to the WHO, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness. About 35 percent of blindness and 25 percent of middle and severe vision injury is caused by untreated cataracts. The incidence for cataracts for Chinese patients between 60 and 89 is 80 percent, and is over 90 percent for people over 90. Surgery is the only cure.

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