Blindness in Cambodia

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, bordering Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Much of Cambodia’s medical infrastructure was destroyed during the devastating rule of the Khmer Rouge (Communist Party) between 1975 and 1979. In the years that followed, Cambodia, in conjunction with international NGOs, worked to rebuild and provide medical care throughout the country.

Despite the government’s best efforts, in the country of 15 million, there are only 38 ophthalmologists and over 40,000 who are completely blind. On top of that, another 57,857 Cambodians have severe visual impairments.

Cambodians over the age of 50 are especially likely to be blind. The prevalence of blindness in that segment of the population is as high as 2.8 percent, compared with 0.38 percent in the general population. The leading cause of blindness in the country is cataracts, which is both preventable and easily reversible with a low-cost, thirty-minute surgery.

SEE in Cambodia

The main barrier to access to cataract surgery in Cambodia is affordability, which is why the pro-bono surgeries that our doctors provide on SEE’s programs are so vital to fighting blindness.

SEE has been restoring sight to the blind in Cambodia since 2005. Each year, SEE hosts about five clinics in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital and most populous city. During these programs, our team of volunteer doctors restore sight to around 200 Cambodians, primarily children, and screen over 600 patients.

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