Healthcare

School and community eye screening for children

The Challenge

Uncorrected refractive errors are the single largest cause of visual impairment. In children, this problem is compounded as they may be unaware of the problem and may not even realize they are afflicted with defective vision. A significant percentage of visually impaired children in developing countries do not attend or drop out of school, increasing the likelihood of entering the poverty trap.

The Solution

School and community eye screening programmes seek to address this issue. The Foundation’s projects in this area, implemented in the last few years, provide comprehensive eye health services to children in schools and the community. Children undergo screening for refractive errors and other eye conditions. Children who need spectacles get prescription eyewear, in the school or Vision Centres, in the presence of parents or teachers. Children needing surgeries and other treatment get referred to the base hospital where the treatment is provided free of cost or at subsidized rates. Periodic check-ups are done to monitor the efficacy of the interventions and ensure compliance. Children and parents receive counselling support as needed.

This initiative has screened over 86,000 children in Maharashtra and New Delhi, so far, providing necessary interventions for children needing them, helping prevent avoidable childhood blindness. The initiative continues to reach out to more children in New Delhi.

For this programme, the Foundation has partnered with Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi and Mission for Vision, Mumbai.

"What is unique about these initiatives is that it has enabled comprehensive eye healthcare for vulnerable communities."

Elizabeth Kurian CEO, Mission for Vision