My Right To Sight
A Community Vision Screening Project of School Children In Kashmir Valley
Early detection and treatment of vision disorders in children is of the utmost importance.
If undetected and untreated, they pose a wide variety of challenges, with poor school performance on one end of the spectrum to blindness on the other.
Uncorrected refractive errors in children can worsen over time and result in permanent vision loss.
There are 1.4 million blind children worldwide, out of which two thirds live in developing countries. The prevalence of blindness among children in India is reported to be 0.17%; population based studies from India report a prevalence of 2.7% and 6.4% among children aged 7-15 years in rural and urban populations respectively.
Many of the causes of childhood blindness are both avoidable and treatable if detected in a timely manner. For these reasons it is necessary to have school eye screening programs in place.
In the rural areas and in the public school system, these screening programs become imperative for timely detection due to myriad of reasons, including lack of education and awareness, economic and shortage of optometrists and ophthalmologists in the rural areas.
For these reasons, KASHMER along with its ground partners, HPVT and with help from Al Imdaad Trust has put together a very comprehensive district-wise vision screening program of school children in the Kashmir Valley with provision of opticals for families below the poverty line.
Initial Pilot in Baramulla District which will optimize program design and allocation of resources.
We will provide much needed
–alternate, free of cost, vision screening in public/government schools in various districts
–screening and detection of refractive errors, detection
–referrals for pediatric opthalmologic disorders, such as squint/ strabismus, will be made for timely management;
–low cost corrective opticals will be provided for families for purchase or for free if they show financial need.
–Education is an important part of any KASHMER project. Education efforts through ERT with local doctors for sharing of expertise in this and other specialties.
— a provision to screen primary school children for hearing loss as well, and in this way we will help detect and manage any impairment in a timely manner at a critical stage of development.
The first screening was held in a middle school in Baramulla District on April 3, 2019 with newly diagnosed myopes, strabismus, hearing loss, amongst others detected. Also a teacher training workshop was conducted to train the school teachers to conduct a basic vision screening annually and for this purpose vision charts were left behind.