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Assistance

The impact that Instituto da Visão-IPEPO has had on different Brazilian regions has been extensive in that it extrapolates the ophthalmologic assistance to the remote areas and is always associated with research and human resources aimed at sustainability. Approximately 2 million outpatient visits have been conducted in the past 5 years with over 100,000 surgeries performed throughout Brazil. Sustainable cataract surgery and ocular diabetes campaigns, called “mutirões,” have been implemented since the late 1990s starting in São Paulo City and spreading throughout Brazil. In the Amazon, similar initiatives began in 2008. Pterygium also is a targeted disease in that area due to its 60% prevalence rate. Free glasses have been provided for 50,000 people, mainly for near vision correction and children. Diabetic retinopathy is being addressed by multiple initiatives such as the establishment of Diabetes Days during which more than 100,000 people have been screened and teleophthalmology programs serve over 30,000 patients. To provide infrastructure and services, partnerships have been established to train primary care workers and general practitioners as were teleophthalmology services to screen for cataract, retinal disorders, glaucoma, and other ocular diseases. Native Brazilian populations, including 15 ethnic groups, and especially those with limited contact with civilization, have been examined and provided with glasses and local assistance, which improved the quality of life for older individuals engaged in everyday activities such as cooking and fishing. Refractive errors and amblyopia in schoolchildren are being addressed by campaigns such as Visão do Futuro and glasses are provided free. The impact of those initiatives has increased the ocular health of a large population and could be extended to other areas of Brazil and Latin America as a model to prevention blindness.