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Amazon projects

A recent epidemiological survey in older adults from the Amazon area detected a much higher prevalence of blindness (4.8%) when compared to that found in a similar survey performed in São Paulo (1.5%) which is the most developed city of the country. Periodical campaigns targeting cataract and uncorrected refractive errors, the main causes for blindness and visual impairment in the Brazilian Amazon, are still ongoing. In the last 10 years, 12 municipalities were included in a joint program with a local non-profit NGO from Manaus, Amazonas state, the Piedade Cohen Foundation (FUNDAPI). The lack of access for those living in the rainforest, the geography, and peculiar climate of the Amazon required specific operational strategies to optimize the logistics and costs of travel and equipment transportation. Experienced clinical teams, including young in-training ophthalmologists, joined local professionals along with international volunteers to perform cataract and other ocular surgeries using local resources and high-technology equipment, which are provided free-of-charge by the industry. Local community leaders are also involved to warrant participation from the patients who can benefit from surgery and glasses. It has been part of the Institute of Vision policy to increase the efficiency of existing facilities that ideally should improve the access to eye care services.

Relato Dr. Jacob Cohen

There have been 20 expeditions to treat cataract in the Amazon region with a total of 280 volunteer ophthalmologists, residents and anesthesiologists involved.

Locations included:

“Low” Amazon – Itapiranga, Silves, São Sebastião do Uatumã, Urucará, Nhamundá, Parintins, Barreirinha, Boa Vista do Ramos, Maués, Barreirinha e Urucurituba 10 expeditions

“Middle” Amazon: Rio Preto da Eva, Itacoatiara, Silves, Itapiranga, São Sebastião do Uatumã e Urucurituba) – 8 expeditions

“Baixo Solimões” – Manacapurú, Iranduba

“Médio Solimões: – Coari e Tefé – 4 expeditions

“Alto Solimões” – Tabatinga, Benjamin Constant, Atalaia do Norte, São Paulo de Olivença, Amaturá, Santo Antônio do Iça – 2 Expeditions

“Alto Rio Negro river” – Barcelos, Santa Izabel do Rio Negro, São Gabriel da Cachoeira) – 2 expeditions

Madeira river – Humaitá – 2 expeditions