The World Health Organization [WHO] has recognized that curing blindness vision is essential to achieve the sustainable development goals of the WHO. Vision impairment reduces mobility, mental health, well-being, increased the risks of dementia, falls, accidents and increased the need for social care and ultimately higher mortality rates. This is associated with the loss of annual global productivity that in 2020, was estimated to cost over 410 billion US dollars purchasing power parity.
Of the corneal blind, 98% live in lower- and middle-income countries [LMIC] and on average are much younger than those patients affected by cataracts the most common cause of visual impairment.
Corneal disease is a common cause of visual impairment with 53% of the world having no access to corneal transplantation. Over 12.7 million individuals are waiting for bilateral corneal transplantation. These numbers underestimate the true need as data does not include the number of potential candidates living in areas with poor access to eye care as well as many as well as millions of individuals blind in one eye.
Corneal Transplantation is four times more effective than cataract surgery in the improvement of Quality of Life. Eighty percent of Corneal disease blindness disease can be successfully cured through corneal transplantation.
Therefore, millions of patients are needlessly and unnecessarily blind in LMIC. Corneal transplantation is cost-effective. Solutions to adjust these challenges are available that are locally self-sustainable, cost-effective, equitable and accountable.