National: CBM India with the support of Fullerton India has equipped two more vision centres in Haryana and Karnataka in their fight to reduce avoidable blindness and vision impairment in rural India. These would be the first primary screening facilities initiated by RIO Rohtak and RIO Bangalore at primary health centres in rural districts. The inclusive vision centres situated in these rural areas will cater to the most vulnerable communities, including people with disabilities.
These vision centres will be fully equipped with screening equipment and will be manned by a trained optometrist. The centre will also engage a community mobiliser, who would be responsible for building awareness and making the community member’s testing experience easy and comfortable. Spectacles would be provided free of cost for those in need and for those who require surgery (in case of cataract, glaucoma, corneal blindness, etc) would be referred to the nearest RIOs.
There are 18 Regional Institutes of Ophthalmology (RIOs) in India. CBM has partnered with RIOs over the years to support development of low vision services with equipment and training.
Dr Sara Varughese, Managing Trustee, CBM India, adds, “Our aim at CBM is to expand the reach of eye care through sustainable primary eye care services in primary health centres as envisaged in the national programme for control of blindness and visual impairment. We have launched these vision centres in primary health centres (PHC) of these districts as majority of the PHC’s in India do not have a provision for eye screening. We are happy to collaborate with Fullerton in our endeavour to ensure quality eye health services to rural sectors across India.”
With the support of Fullerton India, CBM’s collaboration with RIO Rohtak and RIO Bangalore will help integrate eye care into the health system and look to benefit over one lakh population in the two areas. In general, of the 10 per cent of total population who undergo screening at these centres, 25-30 per cent of the screened clients are identified with refractive errors and spectacles will be disbursed to 60-65 per cent of the refraction cases, and 8.5 per cent of the people screened may undergo cataract surgeries at an eye hospital. The vision centre optometrist and community mobilisers are trained in inclusive approaches, ensuring people with disabilities, women and other vulnerable groups are always included.