January 18, 2002

Baja California Receives Free and Low-Cost Eye Exams and Surgery

Marcela Deffis Ramos, executive director of the Fundación Codet in Tijuana, said that last year the foundation performed 50 cataract operations per month and 24 retinopathy surgeries. This year, the foundation hopes to double those numbers to 100 monthly operations on cataracts and 50 yearly retinopathy surgeries. The Fundación Codet is dedicated to preventing blindness in Baja California.

Since its beginnings in 1998, the Fundación Codet has performed 5,500 free vision exams and 450 surgeries in Baja California. Working in coordination with the state health system, Isesalud, the foundation refers people with vision problems to the social services office. This office then determines a patient's economic status. If a person has no money, he or she is not charged anything for the vision-saving surgeries, according to Deffis.

The leading cause of blindness in Tijuana is diabetic retinopathy, says Deffis. This is caused by the growth and breaking of blood vessels in the retina due to the advance of diabetes. Deffis states that few retinopathy surgeries are done because of their high cost of between US$1,000 and US$3,000.

The second-leading cause of blindness in Tijuana is cataracts, according to Deffis.

The foundation may be reached at 682-83-70 (or from the US 011-52-664-682-83-70) or by going to their offices at Padre Kino No. 10159, Zona Río, Tijuana.

Return to the Frontpage