One million cataract patients on waiting list due to shortage of eye surgeons


By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Coordinator Vision 2020 Secretariat of the Health Ministry, Dr. Asela Abeydheera yesterday said that there was a severe shortage of trained eye surgeons in Sri Lanka. It was an impediment to the Vision 2020 (V2020) programmes aimed at preventing avoidable blindness in the country, he said. 

Dr. Abeydheera said the country’s need was for 200 trained eyes surgeons. A majority of them were required to serve in peripheries- 12 of them including Vavuniya,  Mannar, Kilinochchi and several southern areas of the country had Eye Units.

He, however, said that the number of eye surgeons in the Western Province was satisfactory, he said. 

The V2020 Coordinator said that there were 60 trained eye surgeons in the country at present. 

Responding to questions Dr. Abeydheera said that 90,000 cataract operations, one of the main causes of avoidable blindness, were carried out annually in government hospitals. The private sector performed about 20 percent of the operations, he added.

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