ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute and Lions
Clubs International Foundation today unveiled a new global partnership
aimed at conquering pediatric cataract, a critical cause of childhood
vision loss and blindness.
The Pediatric Cataract Initiative (www.PediatricCataract.org)
will utilize the resources of both organizations to identify, fund and
promote innovative methods of overcoming this issue for the long-term
benefit of children, their families and their communities.
This debilitating childhood condition is a clouding of the eye’s natural
lens. Causes include intrauterine infections such as pregnancy rubella,
metabolic disorders and genetically transmitted syndromes.
During the first year, the Initiative’s primary focus will be on the
People’s Republic of China, where at least 40,000 children are estimated
to suffer from pediatric cataract. The prevalence of pediatric cataract
ranges from one to four children per 10,000 births in developing
countries – ten times the rate of occurrence in developed nations.
“Bringing new vision to the eyes of the world requires more than just
developing innovative products,” said Brent Saunders, chief executive
officer, Bausch + Lomb. “We believe that with significantly more
attention and funding placed against pediatric cataract research,
prevention and treatment, we can truly make a difference in the lives of
“Lions Clubs International Foundation has helped save the sight of tens
of millions of people worldwide,” said Al Brandel, chairperson, Lions
Clubs International Foundation. “This new Initiative has the potential
to reach families and communities around the globe, both in direct
funding support and the identification and extension of innovative,
highly effective programs.”
Surgery to remove a pediatric cataract can take place within the first
few weeks of life or later. Successful outcomes require frequent
examination and planned replacement of vision correction devices
(intraocular lenses, contact lenses, or eyeglasses) throughout childhood
and into adolescence, as well as access to low vision services. With
proper follow-up care, children can grow into fully sighted adults
requiring minimal or no additional vision correction.
Members of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative global advisory council include:
- Chairman Gullapalli "Nag" Rao, M.D., MBBS, Ph.D.,
founder of the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, and known
worldwide for his humanitarian efforts to prevent blindness;
- Joseph Barr, O.D., M.S., FAAO, vice president, Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services (Vision Care), Bausch + Lomb;
- Sean P. Donahue, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center;
- Clare Gilbert, M.D., MSc,
professor in International Eye Health, International Centre for Eye
Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London
- Scott Lambert, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics, Emory University;
- Lipika Roy, M.D., MBA, head of Asia-Pacific Medical Affairs (Pharmaceuticals), Bausch + Lomb.
In addition, Lions Clubs International Foundation will name one of its members to serve on the advisory board in July 2010.
For additional information, visit www.PediatricCataract.org.
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About the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute
The Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute is a program of the global eye
health company focusing on children's vision research, treatment,
prevention and advocacy. Founded in 1853, Bausch + Lomb is one of the
best-known and most respected healthcare brands in the world, with its
contact lenses and solutions, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, and ophthalmic
surgical products available in approximately 100 countries. For more
information, visit www.bausch.com.
About Lions Clubs International Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the grant-making body of Lions
Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer service organization.
The LCIF SightFirst program, Lions’ flagship initiative, builds
comprehensive eye care systems to fight the major causes of blindness
and care for blind and visually impaired persons. Since 1990, the
SightFirst program has helped restore sight to more than 30 million
people around the world, having invested US$237 million in surgeries,
the improvement of hundreds of eye care facilities and training of
thousands of eye care professionals. For more information, visit www.lcif.org.