Globally, there are almost 300 million people blind and visually impaired and over 90% live developing countries. The gross disparity in access to ophthalmologists limits the ability to accurately diagnose potentially blinding conditions like cataract, glaucoma, trachoma, uncorrected refractive error and limits timely initiation of medical and surgical treatment. Since 85% of blindness is preventable, bridging this chasm for care is even more critical in preventing needless blindness. Many low-income countries must rely on community health workers, physician assistants, and cataract surgeons for primary eye care. Ophthalmology in low-income countries (LIC) is further challenging due to complexities brought from tropical climates, frail electric grids, poor road and water infrastructure, limited diagnostic capability and limited treatment options. Vision 2020 set the goal of eliminating preventable blindness by 2020 despite formidable obstacles. Innovative technologies are emerging to test visual acuity, correct refractive error quickly and inexpensively, capture retinal images with portable tools, train cataract surgeons using simulators, capitalize on mHealth, access ophthalmic information remotely. These advancements are allowing nonspecialized ophthalmic practitioners to provide low-cost, high impact eye care in resource-limited regions around the world.
Part of the book: Novel Diagnostic Methods in Ophthalmology