Any ophthalmologist, including the world-renowned eye surgeon Dr Sanduk Ruit, will say that one of the most common side effects of old age is cataracts. Though there are many reasons that a person can develop cataracts, it is still the leading cause of blindness in the world. This modern-day miracle, ‘cataract surgery, can restore vision to people blinded by the disease, and Mr Tej Kohli and Dr Sanduk Ruit ensure that by 2030, at least 500,000 people will get their vision back from free cataract surgery from the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation (TKRF).
While Dr Ruit gives the vision back with the surgery, philanthropist Tej Kohli is continuously funding different research and procedures to make cataract surgery affordable and reach underserved communities in developing nations. It is believed that even though about 60,000 cataract operations are done every day and about 28 million people receive the benefit of the surgery globally, it is still an expensive procedure.
So what does the future of cataract surgery hold for patients? Will it become affordable, will more people benefit from it, or will more people go blind from this disease?
Increase in the Number Of Surgeries
The average life expectancy of the population globally has increased. Hence, it has been projected that in the next 30 years, the CAGR of cataract surgery will surge by 3% to 4. If this is translated into figures, then in less than 24 years, 60 million cataract surgeries will be performed every year globally. Furthermore, it is believed that with the right resource flow and the correct numbers given in the developed countries, if per 1,000 people, 8 to 11 get cataract surgery every year, the number will reach 100 million by 2050.
The Future of Cataract Surgery
It has become vital that new technology be introduced and used to not only improve and make cataract surgery efficient and cost-effective but also to use the right resources so the procedure can reach poor people.
- AI in Lens Prediction
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being developed to predict the lens with 99% accuracy. Just by looking at a patient, the technology will have the ability to predict the patient’s sex, age, eye condition, and even if the patient is a smoker. It will prove to be quite beneficial for the doctors and patients.
- Robotic Eye Surgery
The benefits of robotic technology are understood by the noble-hearted Mr Tej Kohli, and the world of cataract surgery recognises them too. With the introduction of robotic eye surgery, one can look towards having not only a cost-effective and efficient procedure but also creating a future of sustainability with accuracy. Robotic eye surgery has already been developed in Israel, and it is likely to be widely used in the next few years.
- Without Drops, Eye Surgery
This development can be a turning point in the field, as the cataract operation procedure will start by controlling the inflammation from the beginning instead of in postoperative care. The trial of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in perioperative scenarios has already started. If successful, the drug can bring down the postoperative cost.
- Lens Innovation
Different types of lenses are being developed, and the results of the monovision and multifocal lenses are impressive. But research is being conducted, even at Tej Kohli’s Cornea Institute, to find not only cheaper but more effective cataract surgery lenses but also procedures that will take less time.
- The Malyugin Ring
The commonly known M Ring, the Malyugin Ring, which is like a paper clip that has a hook, can help the surgeon operate better. During the surgery, it is inserted in the eye to stretch the pupil to give a better look into the pupil. The frequent use of it can be a game-changer.
Innovation by Tej Kohli in Cataract Surgery
Angel investor Mr Kohli is not far behind when it comes to innovation in resorting vision. Mr Kohli and Dr Ruit believe that improvement in the condition of the underserved is needed for a better economy and to create a sustainable future. So part of the innovation that Mr Kohli has brought into the world of cataract surgery is decreasing the cost of it to less than $50 per patient, taking the eye screening facilities to remote areas, constructing mobile eye operation theatres, and providing these neglected people with free eye surgery with TKRF.