At Least 22 Lose Vision After Free Eye Surgery in India


At least twenty-two elderly people in India have reportedly lost vision in one or both eyes after receiving free cataract surgery, the Associated Press is reporting. India’s health minister, Anant Kumar Singh, said that the victims may have lost their vision as a result of infections caused by contaminated eye drops used during surgery.

The free surgery was administered at a state-owned clinic, where doctors have now been ordered not to conduct any more surgeries until the government’s investigation is complete. The impoverished state of Uttar Pradesh--where these procedures took place--is no stranger to such incidents. Back in December, nine people went blind after receiving similar treatment. 

According to the Associated Press:

“Health care in India is often dismal, with private facilities out of reach for most of the poor. Many are forced to go without health care or depend on public hospitals and clinics, which are frequently filthy, overcrowded, and lack full stocks of medicines.”

A government official has stated that most of the recent victims have complained of blurred vision, swelling and itching eyes, and that it’s possible that “all of them have lost their eye sight permanently.”

All of the patients have been sent to a government hospital in Lucknow for further examination.



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