The CBM Luxembourg Foundation was recognized as a charitable foundation in March 2021. The Foundation supports projects for the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness as well as projects for the integration of disabled people into society – “inclusion”. The work of the Foundation is currently concentrated geographically to three countries which the United Nations designates as least developed countries, namely Angola, Laos and Madagascar. In addition, Laos is one of the seven partner countries7 of the Luxembourg cooperation.
More than anyone else, the most socially and financially disadvantaged people with disabilities need our support. The international CBM family oversees related projects in around 50 countries. The aim is to improve the living conditions of people with various sensory impairments (blindness, visual impairment, deafness), or physical or mental disabilities. Each of the CBM members would like to act as efficiently as possible on site and is therefore only responsible for a limited number of state projects. Even if each member works and makes decisions independently, alliances are often decided to improve project support.
Why Focus on Cataract Surgery?
According to the World Health Organization WHO, 65 million people worldwide suffer from cataracts4,5. This disease is the world’s leading cause of blindness, but it is also the most common eye disease that can be corrected by surgery. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye increasing clouds over. When does blindness occur? This happens when it is no longer possible to count your fingers at a distance of three meters.
In the developing world, the percentage of people who are blind is estimated at 1%, compared to 0.2% in the Western world6. While cataracts are an age-related disease of civilization in our country, partly due to our lifestyle, this is not the case in developing countries: here, younger people often develop cataracts as well. As a result, they not only lose significantly in quality of life, but are also increasingly socially isolated and can only rarely make a living.
Targeting cataracts in the third world is therefore highly efficient. In its position paper on eye health, the WHO identified this as a priority goal4. The CBM Luxembourg Foundation shares this goal, even if its resources are modest. It is important to achieve this not (only) by “flying in teams”, since such help is only given selectively, but also to train ophthalmologists on site in the surgical technique of cataract surgery. If the operation is no longer possible, the same effort should be made to integrate these people into society, if possible with a coordinated profession (“inclusion”).
Causes of cataract formation:
Age, Smoking, Alcohol, Malnutrition, Diabetes mellitus, Unprotected sun exposure