Out of the 45 million blind in the world, around 15 million live in India. According to the WHO, about 85% of all visual impairment is avoidable globally.
Every year Sankara Nethralaya undertakes activities to spread awareness among the public on the importance of eye care. To commemorate World Sight Day on October 14, 2010, Sankara Nethralaya and the institution’s Elite School of Optometry, under the Manbumigu Mudhalvar Doctor Kalaignar Palli Sirar Kannoli Kappom Thittam, will be spearheading a week-long vision screening and awareness session in schools in the city.
On October 8, 2010 MJF Lion R. Ravichandran, District Governor 324-A1inaugurated a screening camp at the Chennai Corporation School Nungambakkam following which Sankara Nethralaya and Elite School of Optometry commenced a mammoth vision screening session across 53 corporations schools in the city. A total of 12,202 school children were screened on October 8, 2010.
“According to the WHO, the 5-11age-group is considered vital for early diagnosis of eye problems. Refractive error remains the second leading cause of avoidable blindness and uncorrected refractive errors among school children can adversely affect their academic performance. The vision screening will help in the early diagnosis and treatment of refractive errors and other eye ailments among the school-going children,” says Dr. Krishna Kumar, Principal, Elite School of Optometry.
Of the 12,202 students screened, 261 students required glasses (2%) and 184 students (1.5%) had eye problems other than refractive errors.
The project covered 17 primary schools, 15 middle schools, and 21 higher secondary schools in corporation zones VII (Nungambakkam, Egmore, Thousand Lights) and X (Thiruvanmiyur, Velacherry, Adyar, Taramani, Alwarpet).
A 123-member team consisting of optometrists and optometry students, which was further divided into 20 teams, visited the 53 schools. All school students received primary eye care service as per protocol.
Lions Club Eden will provide spectacles, free-of-cost, to primary school children who were prescribed glasses and secondary and higher secondary students will receive free spectacles under the State Government’s scheme.
Informative posters on various eye ailments were distributed in all 53 schools with the help of the Shree Banaskantha Palanpur Jain Association and awareness talks will be conducted to raise awareness among students and teachers. Sankara Nethralaya and ESO will train selected teachers as ‘Vision Ambassadors’ to perform basic vision screening in their respective schools.