Refractive errors (need for glasses) are the second main cause for avoidable blindness and the role of Optometrists in reducing this condition is significant.
Elite School of Optometry, a pioneer in the field of optometry education in India, is involved in many screening activities, including cataract and diabetic retinopathy. School children vision screening occupies the major chunk of ESO’s vision screening activities.
There is currently no study about the refractive errors prevalence in schools in Chennai. In 2009-10, ESO conducted vision screening programmes in a few schools in the north and south zones of Chennai. It was found that 11.8% and 7.8% are suffering from refractive errors and other eye problems respectively. Similar models could be evolved for the rest of the zones in Chennai and other Districts of Tamil Nadu. Such projects will definitely aim in reducing the burden of avoidable blindness in the country.
ESO Vision Screening Activities, 2009-10
- Actively involved in the vision screening under the “Doctor Kalaignar Kannoli Kappom Thittam,” in Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram and three zones of Chennai.
- Joined hands with Shree Palanpur Banaskantha Jain Association to screen five selected schools in Sowcarpet covering around 2343 students. It was found that 196 (8%) needed glasses and 96 (4%) were referred for other ocular problems (squint, ptosis, cataract).
- Conducted screening for 14 schools together with cantonment health office in the St.Thomas Mount & Pallavaram zones. 6209 children were screened and 238 (3.8%) were found to have refractive errors and 237 (3.8%) were found to have other eye problems.
- Trained teachers for performing basic vision screening so that screening can be carried out on a yearly basis in their schools.
- Series of awareness talks held on eye care for students