Problems & Solutions
There are specific area of concern for International Vision Quest and for many there is a list of problems and obvious solutions. IVQ was established to provide long-term solutions to these devastating problems.
- More than one-half of the world's blindness is due to cataract development. The term cataract refers to cloudiness or opacification that develops in the lens of the eye. Cataracts commonly develop much earlier in impoverished populations due to poor nutrition, poor eye protection and poor general eye and health care. Globally the adverse economic impact of cataract related visual impairment has been estimated at over four billion U.S. dollars each year. Additionally, blindness in developing countries carries a mortality rate 4 times greater than those who can see. Over 80% of the world blindness is preventable, treatable or curable. IVQ can help provide solutions for many of these problems. In addition, Dr. Zamber has provided surgical instruction to eye care providers in each country he has visited.
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- The cure for blinding cataracts is a one time 15-minute surgery to remove the opacified lens material and insert an artificial lens(IOL). With manufacturer donations of the IOL and necessary surgical supplies, blindness can be eliminated for less than $100.00 U.S. dollars per person. Dr. Zamber has performed thousands of these sight saving procedures on needy individuals in the United States, Ecuador, Nepal and Malawi. In addition, Dr. Zamber has provided countless hours of surgical instruction to eye care professionals across the globe. With cataract development on the rise much more needs to be done and will be done through IVQ's mission.
- Surgical missions conducted several times a year
- Teaching symposiums at each mission site
- Establishment of an on-going primary care and surgery facilities at the most underserved areas
- Trachoma is an infectious disease easily transmitted from person to person through tears, mucous, and airborne vectors like flies. Fifteen percent of the world's blindness is due to eyelid and corneal scarring caused by trachoma infection. Currently there are nearly 150 million cases of active disease that require treatment to prevent eventual blindness. Children are particularly susceptible to disease transmission.
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- Antibiotics - New, potent antibiotics can cure an individual in a single dose (manufacture cost of approximately $2 per dose). Re-infection is common, but a sensible, coordinated approach can virtually eliminate the disease from entire communities. IVQ has provided antibiotics to several hundred infected children in several African communities.
- Surgery - Progressive corneal damage and scarring can be dramatically reduced with appropriate lid surgery. This procedure is straightforward and inexpensive (approximately $50 in supplies) and can provide life-long benefit.
- Education - Transmission of trachoma can be radically diminished through improvement in personal and environmental hygiene. Community based education is a critical and inexpensive element to reduce transmission and subsequent blinding complications
- IVQ will continue efforts in all areas to reduce vision loss related to tachoma.
Vitamin A Deficiency
- Xerophthalmia is the major cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide. A staggering 250 million children are vitamin A deficient. Two million children die each year from severe vitamin A deficiency and an additional 350,000 children go blind.
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- Vitamin A supplements can eliminate this devastation cause of childhood mortality and blindness. At a cost of less than $5 dollars per year, a child can receive vitamin A supplements and avoid potentially blinding and lethal complications of Vitamin A deficiency. IVQ will continue to raise funds to allow increased distribution of vitamin A supplements.
- Glaucoma is a disease process characterized by sudden or gradual pressure elevations in the eye that can destroy the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. The process is usually painless and insidious, escaping detection in all areas of the world that lack facilities and equipment and screening exams. Glaucoma can affect people of all ages, although the prevalence increases significantly with advancing age.
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- Eye pressure can be lowered with daily eye drops, laser treatment or surgery. IVQ provides medication and surgical equipment and supplies to centers in Nepal and Malawi and Dr. Zamber performs and teaches procedures on hundreds of glaucoma patients each year. Although procedures are extremely inexpensive (approximately $50), equipment for detection and surgical care is quite costly.
- The unmet need for spectacles accounts for greater that 35 percent of all visual impairment worldwide. It is estimated that half of the "blind" children in Africa in fact suffer from a lack of access to eye care professionals that can determine the appropriate glasses correction and provide affordable spectacles.
Additional providers and financial support are being recruited to allow this process to continue.
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- A 2 minute exam by a skilled refractionist can accurately determine refractive error. Donated frames and lenses can then be distributed. Mobile labs can provide exact spectacle prescription to restore maximal vision to children and adults. IVQ providers have helped thousands of men, women and children recieve spectacle correction in Ecuador, Nepal and Malawi.