Though phaco is the leading cataract treatment in advanced economies, the procedure is far too expensive for the vast majority of cataract patients in the rest of the world. Most ophthalmologists worldwide still rely on small incision extracapsular.
“How do you pay for cataract surgery in less-developed countries?” Dr. Crandall asked.
“You do it by helping ophthalmologists in those countries to develop their own centers of excellence where patients who used to fly to London, Japan, the United States, or Australia can get the same first-world phaco and premium IOLs without leaving home,” Dr. Crandall said.
Just one patient treated with phaco in a country, such as India, pays for nine other patients to get a first-rate, small-incision extracapsular cataract removal. Phaco technologies that developed from it are transforming vision care even for patients who cannot afford it, he noted.