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Subspecialties Refractive, Health Economics and Policy, Education and Training

The Refractive Principle

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I have a dream.” Or should I say, we have a dream. “We” being the Refractive Surgery Alliance (RSA) The WHO estimates that 2.2 billion people live with some form of visual impairment and at least one billion people live with an impairment that could have been prevented, or is yet to be addressed, with refractive errors and cataracts being the leading causes (1). This one billion people includes those with moderate or severe distance vision impairment or blindness due to unaddressed refractive error (123.7 million), cataract (65.2 million), glaucoma (6.9 million), corneal opacities (4.2 million), diabetic retinopathy (3 million), and trachoma (2 million), as well as near vision impairment caused by unaddressed presbyopia (826 million). Uncorrected refractive errors dwarf the other causes of vision impairment. How can this be possible when the world has never been more prosperous, when poverty is on the decline, and when conditions are generally improving?

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About the Author

Arthur Cummings

“I started my career in South Africa as a retinal surgeon, and developed a special interest in the anterior segment,” says Arthur Cummings. Today based at the Wellington Eye Clinic in Dublin, Cummings is an internationally renowned expert on customized laser treatments having performed upwards of 25,000 LASIK procedures and 5,000 cataract and other IOL procedures. His research interests include refractive surgery, cataract surgery and corneal surgery for keratoconus.

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