Doc sees future for blind in India

April 1, 2009 8:50:11 AM PDT
According to recent statistics, the blind population of India numbers 15 million people. Many are children whose futures are bleak. Twenty years ago Dr. Manu Vora, an adjunct professor at IIT's Stuart School of Business in Wheaton, organized the Blind Foundation for India (BFI) to confront the problem.

"The youngsters when they do not have enough vitamin A they start going blind by the age of four," said Vora. "When people get a cataract due to age-related issues most of them are sitting in the villages and cataracts are not removed so they remain needlessly blind."

Since the foundation was created, nearly $4 million has been raised to provide help for those who might otherwise lose their sight.

"We are able to help close to about a million people for eyesight checkup ...close to about 90 thousand free cataract operations," said Dr. Vora. "Every $20, we can have a cataract removed in India compared with $4,000 here."

Thus far 90,000 adults have had their sight restored through cataract removal paid for by BFI, an organization hoping to reach many more afflicted by blindness.

"It robs the society of the productive years of the people...particularly the youngsters because they do not have any hope and if you can do something to help them...that's a tremendous contribution," said Dr. Vora.

To learn more about BFI, visit blindfoundation.org


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