‘Sight centers may help reduce blindness, visual impairment’

A new longitudinal eye health study of an urban low-income population in Pune has shown that the prevalence of blindness and vision loss decreased over the four years from 2015 to 2019, with blindness from 0.26% to 0.1% and vision loss from 0.16%. reduced to 0.05%. ,

Published recently in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, studies have indicated that vision centers can help reduce blindness and vision impairment.

In a new initiative, researchers from the Community Eye Care Foundation, led by Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr Parikshit Goget, used a door-to-door screening and Vision Center (VC) examination strategy to track the prevalence of blindness and severe visual impairment (SVI). Tried to guess. In 2015 in the slums of Pune in a population of about 50,000 and then repeated the exercise four years later to study its impact.

“We saw a reduction in blindness and visual loss over the years, and the gender gap in eyes with vision <6/12 narrowed. Our teams screened nearly 50,000 people in their homes in 2015-16 and again in 2019. Blindness There was a 40 percent reduction in the prevalence of Blindness. More women than men were blind. However, this decreased over five years, although the gap still remained between men and women. Now, almost all of those visiting vision centers 60 percent were women because access to care is not a barrier. The study showed that services should be readily available," Dr. Goget said.

A dedicated team of four trained community health workers led by Dr Supriya Phadke measured visual acuity and conducted an external eye test at the patients’ homes. If vision is 20/60 (6/18), a person can read at 20 feet (6 meters) what people with normal vision can read at 60 feet (18 meters). Therefore, people with vision <6/18 were urged to visit a vision center for a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist. An ophthalmologist examines people whose vision did not improve by 6/12. Even after pleading twice, people who did not come to the vision center were given home examination. The same population of about 50,000 was examined twice in a span of four years.

Cataract was the leading cause of blindness, with proportions of 44.9% and 41.6% in the first and second surveys, respectively. In 2015, glaucoma patients had more severe grades of visual disability than in 2019. Over the four years, 2015-2019, the vision center examined 8,211 patients (3,377 men, including 529 boys, and 4,834 women, including 520 girls).