Eye Disease and Care in Latin America and the Caribbean
Juan Carlos Silva, J. Bronwyn Bateman, and Francisco Contreras
Public Health and the Eye
In the last decade, health indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean reflect advances.
The per capita public expenditure on health care has increased in many countries.
Despite these improvements, it is estimated that for every million population in Latin America and the Caribbean, 5,000 are blind and 20,000 are visually impaired; at least 66% of the blindness is attributable to treatable conditions such as cataract.
The cataract surgery rate in the region remains low as compared to the industrialized countries, although it is higher than many other regions of the world.
The availability of eyecare services varies from country to country within the region, and the number of ophthalmologists per million population in the richest countries may be nine times more than in the poorest.
Access,defined as the distance between the consumer and the services, is problematic in countries with isolated areas in the rainforest or high mountains, poor road systems, or lack of public transportation.
Affordability is an important issue that limits utilization of services by the poorest segments of the population in nearly all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.