Ghana will have a backlog of 500,000 cataract cases due for surgery by the end of this year.

That’s forecast by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Department of Optometry and Visual Science.

Cataract is the leading cause of reversible blindness worldwide.

In Ghana, the disease contributes to 50% of blindness, with an estimated 1% of the population live with cataract blind.

The only treatment currently available for cataract is surgical removal of the opaque human lens.

The study outcome is contained in the Ghana Science Association webinar book of abstracts.

It estimated cataract surgical rate (CSR) in Ghana from 2000-2017 using secondary data from the Ghana Health Service Eye Care Secretariat on the number of surgeries performed for each year.

“Backlog was calculated using the formula: (40000-number of surgeries performed in a given year) + remainder of surgeries from previous year.

A total of 110, 205 surgeries were performed across the ten regions for the 7 years where data was found to be complete,” lead researcher, Dr. Ellen Konadu Antwi-Adjei, explains.

The highest number of surgeries performed and CSR IN 2011 were 22,142 and 913, respectively.

Out of the total number of surgeries performed over the seven-year period, Greater Accra recorded 27.1%, Ashanti 17.9% and Upper East 12.8%.

Northern accounted for 10.5%, Central 8.4%, Brong/Ahafo 7.4% and Eastern 6.4%, Volta 5.5%, Upper West 2.2% and Western 2.0%.

The average number of surgeries performed in the country per year was 15, 000, with average CSR at 638 surgeries per million population.

CSR of Ghana over the period was about 600 surgeries per million people.

Though the researchers say the number is higher than most African countries, they’re unimpressed because “it’s still less than the Vision 2020 target of 2,000 surgeries per million population.”