Origin for Cataract

For reasons that are largely unknown, the incidence of cataracts in children in Bangladesh is relatively high. Of the 40,000 blind children in the country approximately 1/3 are affected by cataracts. Just in the catchment area of the hospital that we support, the Mymensing’s Eye Hospital (150 km in the north of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka), there are about 1,500 children waiting for cataract surgery. This number mainly results from the backlog of operations, caused by the lack of medical care and poverty The precise reason behind the high level of cataracts in Bangladesh remains unclear. In all probability there is probably an amalgamation of reasons but one issue is almost certainly water. Every year during the 6 months rainy season (monsoon) 60 % of Bangladesh’s territory is flooded. During this period there is not enough food. The resulting malnutrition and lack of vitamins impact mothers and the development of their unborn children during the pregnancy. The problem of contaminated water is probably also a contributory factor. Much of the water supply is contaminated with arsenic and it is possible that over time this is creating genetic alterations through the generations. The contaminated water also causes diarrhoea and dehydration.  In the meantime different international aid organisations mark the wells with different colours (in red and blue) to make sure that safe drinking water is identifiable. Please refer to the article from the well reputed Thieme Verlag in our link collection