Despite efforts of Vision 2020 in India, the 2001 Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) extrapolated that approximately 18.7 million blind people resided in India and projected an increase to 31.6 million blind people by 2020. Within the Andhra Pradesh state itself, the preventable blindness population had increased from approximately 1,143,150 people in 1990 to 1,402,264 people in 2001, against reformation attempts by the National Program for Control of Blindness. Of this, cataracts were consistently the leading cause of avoidable blindness. Numerous public health studies have been conducted to outline factors that preclude treatment of avoidable cataract blindness in the India. Conclusively, the escalation of cataract blindness can be largely attributed to personal, social, and economic factors that inhibit utilization of available eye-care services. However, the degree and specificity of these respective barriers varies due to the heterogeneity among regions within Andhra Pradesh. Accordingly, no single approach can be implemented to effectively ameliorate eye health. Instead, population-based studies are required to understand individual regions and respective levels of need. Accordingly, this research is an examination of the female population in rural regions of Andhra Pradesh through the analysis of two major studies (1) the impact of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on economic development and (2) socioeconomic factors engendering lack of utilization of eye-care services, in order to find a correlation between these two seemingly disparate studies. Overwhelmingly, the presence of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) increases the economic status of regions by increasing access to both education and employment opportunities. In comparison to developed, urban areas, NGOs presence in rural regions are significantly limited, leading to discrepancies in economic development and thereafter, lack of opportunity for economic and social growth for Cataract Blindness: Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Treatment Barriers and High Blindness Rates for Women in Rural Regions of Andhra Pradesh By Kiranpreet Kaur A U C T U S // VCU’s Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity // STEM// February 2018 2 females. Correspondingly, for years, higher incidences of cataract blindness have plagued the female population residing in underdeveloped rural areas of India, especially in comparison to female counterparts in urban areas. I found this to be significantly attributed to an intermittent and cyclic combination of socioeconomic limitations, specifically to lack of education/employment opportunities and cultural restrictions. This in turn, is linked to comparably diminished levels of private/NGO sector involvement. Only through understanding the correlation between these two aspects can intervention efforts be appropriately pursued to reduce cataract blindness rates in the female population. This work increases our understanding of the limitations that exist in accessing treatment options for females and furthermore, obtained results can potentially be extended to other regions of India to create and implement similar public policies.
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