The Indian arm of Vision 2020, the global initiative towards eliminating avoidable blindness instituted the ‘Sri SN Shah Award’ for Equity: to provide comprehensive primary eye care screenings with a focus on women and children, in year 2013 towards recognizing ‘equity of eye care services to women and children’ and to honour institutions dispensing excellent eye services to this vulnerable group. The award for year 2019 was conferred on Sankara Nethralaya in recognition of the significant contribution to preventing and treating childhood blindness by the Elite School of Optometry, its academic arm. The ESO-SN community outreach teams under Dr Anuradha Narayanan Program in-charge – School Children Eye Health, Sankara Nethralaya and Vision Screening Coordinator – Elite School of Optometry carry out massive cost free eye screening of children from the socially and economically backward sections of society living in remote villages by conducting a large number of eye screening camps in rural schools. These camps are a boon to children living in the backward regions of the country to whom school screening is the only access to quality eye care, children found with refractive errors are dispensed with cost free glasses and those needing ophthalmic intervention are referred to the base hospital for cost free treatment. It would be noteworthy to mention here that the SN-ESO joint effort towards screening this delicate group has found its pride of place in the ‘Limca Book of Records’ for the largest number of school children screened in a single day.
The Sri SN Shah award for equity, consisting of a cash prize of INR 10,000 and a citation were presented by His Excellency Banwarilal Purohit, the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu, at the 15th Vision 2020 conference held on the 8th of June 2019, at the Arvind Eye Hospital, Chennai and received on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya by Dr Anuradha Narayanan.