When we think about people who have limited access to having surgery for sight-threatening cataracts, it’s natural to assume access to cataract procedures is mainly a third-world problem. Over 65 million people worldwide suffer from significant eye disease where cataracts make up the majority of reversible blindness. Studies show this number may triple by 2050. Our personal experience through our non-profit Health In Sight Mission of Roatan has given us a firsthand look at the challenges that arise from lack of surgery. While it’s easy to believe this problem doesn’t apply to the US as we enjoy the best of the best in all aspects of eye care, unfortunately, many Americans lack access to sight-saving procedures.
We assume that here in the US, most citizens have access to this kind of care when needed. The truth is, of the 22 million people nationwide who suffer from cataracts, a significant amount of that population has limited to no access to cataract-related procedures. Patients who are underinsured, or completely without insurance, often find themselves feeling forced to go without the surgery. Cataracts affect vision, including one’s ability to drive, and quality of life, like employment. Cataracts are even associated with increased risk of falls. Needless to say, it’s in everyone’s interest that we tackle this problem for the benefit of cataract patients to help them remain productive, healthy and independent.
We are proudly involved with providing care to patients affected with cataracts on an international scale, and now, Piedmont Eye Center is taking an active role to identify and treat patients in our own community who would otherwise go without surgery. Through a partnership with the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation’s program known as Operation Sight, we are able to provide patients with this amazing surgery without the financial worry for those who qualify.
Launched in 2014, Operation Sight has provided more than 4,000 surgeries through a nationwide network of volunteer ophthalmologists. To be eligible for the program, patients must be at or below the 200% Federal Poverty Level as defined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines. To find out more information about this program, please call 703-788-5787 or email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be found online at https://ascrs.org/foundation/operation-sight
If you, or someone you know, requires cataract surgery but are concerned about costs, you may be eligible for a reduced cost operation. You are not alone, and should not need to face this by yourself. There is help available to you, and Piedmont Eye Center doctors are ready to step in. Contact our office, or the ASCRS Foundation, to find out more.