India Childhood Blindness Initiative
World sight day celebrations by Elite School of Optometry, Sankara Nethralaya in association with ORBIS India
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment, and is held on the second Thursday in October each year. This year it has fallen on the Thursday 13th October.
As the day began this year, hundreds of eye care professionals across the country stood up to the commitment of “Stronger together”, the global theme for this year’s WSD. As the day beautifully dawned, it was a wonderful sight to witness hundreds of Optometry students, and optometrists of the Elite School of Optometry along with the school children rising up to the occasion of the World Sight Day through various eye care awareness activities. Six schools in and around the Kooram village of the Kanchipuram district were involved in the WSD initiatives of the Elite school in partnership with ORBIS India, coordinated by the humanitarian minds Mr. Raman from NGO Dassya and Mr. Anbu from NGO Vizguthugal.
The ’Refractive Error Among Children’ (REACH) Program supported by the Orbis India Country Strategic Plan (CSP) under the umbrella of its India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI) and the South Asia Comprehensive Child Eye Health Initiative (SACCHI) at the regional level, is focused at screening 300,000 children between July 2016 – June 2019 in southern India. Elite School of Optometry & Sankara Nethralaya, Units of Medical Research Foundation, Chennai has partnered up with Orbis in this initiative along with 5 other partner institutions across India. The team lead by ESO carried with them the theme “Eye Health for ALL” as the mission statement for 2016 World Sight Day initiatives. On the 13th October, vision screening activities, human chain of school students and optometrists carrying placards on eye care awareness, and drawing competitions on “VizhiyeNalama” to ignite the young minds on the need for eye and vision care were carried out. 609 children were screened in six schools of whom 4 needed spectacles, 4 referred for colour vision defects, 5 for vision therapy and 5 for other ocular problems.
Elite School of Optometry, a unit of Medical Research of Foundation, has established a strong school children outreach model and has covered more than 200,000 children in the last 5 years. Every year, on occasion of the world sight day, innovative ideas on eye and vision care awareness have been implemented by the team to reach out to the general public at large, and this year as well the team stands socially committed to the cause of “Eye health for all”. The ongoingplans for this year’s WSD include a spectrum of eye and vision care awareness activities involving primary, middle and higher secondary school students in and around the Kanchipuram district with plethora of themes addressing every age. The activities that are carried out under the theme include drawing competition on “VizhiyeNalama” (on eye health), slogan writing competition on ” Spectacles – our stylish choice” to drive the need for compliant spectacle wear, Vision club inauguration at selected schools, Installation of plaques that read “ Free from vision impairment” on the premises of 6 schools that have been screened by the team, Vision ambassador training for the school students, Quiz competitions, vision screening activities, listening to eye care stories, interacting with eye and vision care experts, Human chain and walk around the school premise in the village locality and many more!
The celebrations have begun on the13thOctober, and will be continued till the third week of October. The results of the competition would be announced during last week of October along with distribution of winner trophy and prizes.
Through the initiative of REACH and the World Sight day this year, the commitment of Elite school of Optometry and Sankara Nethralaya to serve the underserved children of rural southern India is taking a giant leap and serves as an exemplary example to the social accountability initiatives of this pioneering institution.
Let us all raise up to the cause of this unique initiatives of Elite School of Optometry, Sankara Nethralaya and ORBIS, India by spreading the message on “Eye health for all” and “Stronger Together” build a nation free from vision impairment.
For volunteering activities, please contact Elite School of Optometry 044-22316658.