Sankara Nethralaya and Vision-Aid, an international NGO that works for the welfare of the visually impaired, are long-term partners, collaborating on various vision rehabilitation programs including running the Vision Enhancement Clinic (VEC) at Sankara Nethralaya’s Shenoy Nagar campus. In partnership with the India-based NGO Trees for Life India, Vision-Aid gave away 10 smartphones to visually impaired patients of the Low Vision Care Clinic (LVC) and VEC at Sankara Nethralaya main campus in Chennai on Oct 28th 2021.
In the first phase of a much larger rollout, ten visually impaired deserving patients of the LVC and the VEC were given smartphones in a small event. The phone distribution event was a closed group event in accordance with the continuing guidelines against the COVID19 pandemic. The event also serves to encourage optometrists and rehabilitation specialists with knowledge of the latest smartphone apps.
Dr. Girish S. Rao, President, Dr. T. S. Surendran, Vice- Chairman, Dr. Pramod Bhende, Director of Vitreo-Retina Services, Dr B Shantha, Senior Consultant – Glaucoma Services, Mr. V. L. Narasimhan and Mr. Vijay Francis from Vision-Aid, India attended the ceremony.
An intensive training schedule jointly conducted by Sankara Nethralaya and Vision-Aid to assist the beneficiaries will follow this event. The training schedule aims at teaching the beneficiaries to use the smart phones and assistive mobile apps efficiently to overcome the daily challenges of the visually challenged.
Though there are many sophisticated mobile apps freely available for modern smartphones, few are aware of their existence and know how to use them to improve their day-to-day living.
Smart phone companies have poured a lot of money into creating very powerful technology in today’s smart phones, such as AI-based apps that help blind users see objects around them, navigation apps that help the visually challenged to navigate safely, and learning apps that connect to a range of digital resources for learning and education. Through such apps, smart phones can become like constant, personal companions, helping to enable, educate and empower the blind and visually impaired to live with independence and dignity.