Israel Leads the World in Blindness PreventionJul. 31, 2013
A new study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology shows that rates of preventable blindness in Israel have been cut by more than half over the last decade, from 33.8 cases of blindness per 100,000 residents in 1999 to 14.8 in 2010.
Israel’s success in preventing and treating all four main causes of avoidable blindness — age-related deterioration, glaucoma, diabetes and cataract — is unmatched anywhere else in the world, says the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Belkin of the Goldschleger Eye Research Institute at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center.
Other countries could see similar results by emulating Israel’s approach, suggests Belkin, one of the foremostophthalmology researchers in Israel.
The secret of Israel’s success? Developing innovative methods of prevention and treatment and making them available universally through the national medical system.
Community-based programs, such as dedicated diabetes clinics, promote early prevention and timely treatment for diabetes-related complications that can lead to blindness. Diabetes clinics in Israel pay for themselves in about two years’, he says, factoring in their impact on preventing greater health concerns. It is much more expensive to treat blindness as it develops rather than preventing it from the start, Belkin points out.
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