For Immediate Release
Contact: Media Relations, (202) 777-2509

Eliminating Leading Worldwide Cause of Blindness Focus of New APHA Book

Fighting Global Blindness: Improving World Vision Through Cataract Elimination

Authors: Sanduk Ruit, MD; Geoffrey C. Tabin, MA, MD; Charles C. Wykoff, MD, DPhil

Washington, D.C., February 13, 2006 Fifty million people in the world suffer in darkness. Yet many of them are blind due to treatable cataracts whereas inexpensive surgery can restore perfect sight.

While the number of people worldwide who are blinded by cataracts continues to increase, Fighting Global Blindness: Improving World Vision Through Cataract Elimination, published by the American Public Health Association (APHA), illustrates how low-cost and efficiently run programs can restore sight to some of the world’s neediest.

Ophthalmologists Geoffrey Tabin of Utah and Sanduk Ruit of Nepal have developed a highly efficient, hospital-based approach to delivering cataract surgery to densely populated areas and modifying the approach to reach more sparsely populated regions of the world. Along with recent Harvard Medical School graduate Charles Wykoff, Tabin and Ruit bring us a detailed guide on global cataract surgery delivery.

This book shares their valuable experiences in great detail, described by Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist Alfred Sommer as “virtually a step-by-step manual to solving the problem where adequate surgeons can be trained to follow suit.” They write about ways to increase demand among those who need surgery, how to organize surgical services, how to efficiently lay out clinical facilities and how to provide services at the least cost to those who need it most.

The book includes information and forms to use in setting up a cataract surgical program. The heart-rending case study of Tilganga Eye Center shows how private care can subsidize charity care. A stunning cover photograph Tabin shot of one-day post-operative patients at an eye camp in Tibet shows a throng of grateful people, many wearing eye patches and big smiles.

A special section on other orthalmic diseases as public health problems covers trachoma and onchocerciasis or “river blindness,” vitamin A deficiency, pediatric cataract treatment in the developing world and neonatal conjuntivitis.

In the book’s afterword, David F. Chang, MD, clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, praises the cataract surgery system outlined in the book.

“Using a single operating table, a surgeon and his or her team is able to perform approximately 10 cases per hour by consistently completing 5-minute procedures on the densest of cataracts with minimal turnover time,” Chang writes. He also praises the way surgical teams travel the rural areas of Nepal to set up remote eye camps to deliver care.

Ordering Information: Published by the American Public Health Association, 2005, ISBN: 0-87553-067-2, 186 pages, cost is $60 ($42 for APHA members), plus shipping and handling. To order, call toll free (888) 320-APHA; fax (888) 361-APHA; e-mail or visit APHA’s Web site:

Please send your request for a review copy on letterhead to APHA Publications Marketing, 800 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001-3710, or fax to (202) 777-2531.

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The American Public Health Association is the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world and the foremost publisher of public health-related books and periodicals promoting high scientific standards, action programs and public policy for good health. More information is available at