"There are 500,000 cataract patients in Sri Lanka at present. Between 100,000 and 150,000 patients are badly affected and have cataract in both eyes. Fifty percent of them are from under developed rural areas of the country comprising low income families," a Health Ministry spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, those patients never come for surgeries due to economic problems, family burdens and ignorance.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has issued instructions to the health authorities to conduct free surgeries for patients in their villages without waiting for them to turn up at state hospitals.
"Under the Vision 2020 programme, free cataract operations were carried out on 340 cataract patients in the new settlements in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and Vavniya recently. All of these patients were operated on during a period of three days and one surgery took only 90 seconds," the spokesman said.