The institution credited with having brought optometry, the art and science of combining the elements of light, vision, and refraction to the country and giving it its rightful place in overall eye care, embarked on yet another critical exercise of taking the finer nuances of optometry to where it was most needed. The Occupational Optometry Services attached with the Elite School of Optometry and Sankara Nethralaya joined hands with Vision Impact Institute to carry out a detailed analysis of the specific visual acuity, light demand, and challenges of the large number of artisans/workmen who come under the unorganized sector titled “VISION CORRECTION IMPACT STUDY (VCIS) AMONG THE UNORGANISED SECTOR”. Enabling quality vision, lighting and ergonomics as demanded by their profession to workmen from the unorganized sector who did not enjoy any kind of institutional care or inputs was a natural next step and ‘Walk the Talk’ for an institution committed to serving the socially and economically backward and leveraging its knowledge for the common good. The unorganized sector accounts for a staggering 93% of the nation’s workforce, comprising of the men who light up our homes and attend to faults (electricians), chisel our furniture (carpenters), keep us presentable (hairdressers), design our ornaments (goldsmiths), ensure our smooth mobility and mobile connectivity (automobile mechanics & mobile handset repairers). The unsung heroes who touch our lives every day and make it better, touching them back with concern was the ESO’s way of saying ‘We care for you”. Ensuring optimum visual acuity, brightness and right posture in the workplace became indispensable for their occupational safety, quality of their produce and quantum of their production which contributed significantly to their income and the nation’s GDP, so the study was both a humanitarian and economic necessity.
The study helped in ascertaining the right visual acuity of the professions which it went into, helped in determining the right sitting, work postures, illumination, overcoming eye fatigue, enhancing vision, quality of production, spectacle usage and would be remembered as a landmark initiative in the history of vision care. 45% of the workers screened were provided free glasses matching their specific visual demand at work and the visual ability of the individual. Results of the follow-up carried out to ascertain compliance of spectacle usage, two months after prescription of the same showed a highly encouraging 88% compliance of spectacle usage both at the workplace and for other activities. Another significant if rather unexpected value addition to the study was the finding of a significant 76% of those screened to be needing eye care at varying levels and referring them for screening to nearby eye hospitals. The highlight of the study was the positive impact of the vision correction/enhancement on the vision-related quality of life of the workers.
The fact that the study was conducted by members who were not only expert optometrists but also members of the Indian Association of Occupational health gave the study a broad spectrum scope. We take great pleasure in sharing the name of the researchers who conducted this most novel and impactful study.
Dr. P P Santanam, Dr. R. Krishna Kumar, Dr. Rashima A, Ms. Raajamaheswari. KC, Dhanlakshmi.S, and Janani.S