A Pathbreaking Session “Gift an Eye Test to your Valentine” was organized on the 12th of Feb 2021 on Eye Awareness by Optician India Magazine in Collaboration with the India Vision Institute In the context of National Road Safety Month observed from 18th January 2021 to 17th February 2021. The theme of this year is, “Sadak Suraksha- Jeevan Raksha”. The Session was hosted by Sh Madhur Gupta, MD SMAVS & Editor Optician India & can be watched at: https://opticianindia.net/valentines.
Experts from the Eyewear Industry with Padmashree awardee, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, Dr Vikas Mahatme, Dr Vinod Daniel, CEO India Vision Institute, Sh Ramachandran Parthasarthy (Ram), Eyewear Consultant and Erstwhile COO South Asia of Essilor, Dr Vijaya Gothwal, LV Prasad Eye Institute & Sh Subash Bansal, President Optical Association of India and Promoter of the India International Optics Fair 2021 from 10-12 April at Expocentre Noida with Support from Essilor India Private Limited, India International OpticsFair 2021, Hoya Vision Care India.
In this session, Dr Vikas Mahatme who himself being an ophthalmologist who won the hearts of millions of people in Maharashtra through his charitable and social works & founded Mahatme Eye Bank & Eye Hospital which has carried over eighty thousand operations free of cost, talks about associating the annual comprehensive Eye test along with a special event like a birthday or anniversary and making it a habit. In his address to the public he covered various aspects of the importance of curbing Uncorrected Refractive Errors and how uncorrected vision problems can lead to Educational and Professional Underachievement, economic hardships and road and other personal accidents.
Opening the debate, Dr Vijaya Gothwal who has been associated with the L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, for over 3 decades. A graduate from the Elite School of Optometry, Chennai, Masters and PhD from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia, and a post-doctoral fellowship from Adelaide, South Australia, informed about a study conducted in over 190 countries on global burden of disease suggested the major causes of blindness in the age group above 50 years or older in the order are cataract (15.2m), glaucoma (3.6m), uncorrected refractive errors (2.3m), age related macular degeneration(1.8m) and diabetic retinopathy (0.86m). The low vision issues caused primarily by cataract and uncorrected refractive errors (URE) can be avoided by cost effective simple interventions in case of cataract and URE by using a pair of spectacles or glasses.
Speaking on preventive eye care measures Sh P Ramachandran (Ram) Eyewear Consultant, Hon Advisor India Vision Institute and Sure Trust having served in the optical industry for over three decades last being Group COO South Asia of Essilor and prior in Tata Group, emphasized on the need for prevention and protection for solving the Uncorrected Refractive Errors. He also informed the WHO definition where spectacles have been added as priority assistive product also accepted by ICMR which means that the accessibility of spectacles to all sections of the population irrespective of their economic class therefore spectacles need to affordable in cost and available to all.
Dr Vinod Daniel being a chemical engineer himself has been using his strong background in science and technology and leadership skills to preserve heritage globally (through ICOM, AusHeritage & Daniel Aspac Pty Ltd), and assist Indians, especially those from underprivileged communities access vision screenings and a pair of free spectacles to those in need (through India Vision Institute) while sharing important statistics about the problem emphasized the point that 80% of what a child learns is visual. If they can’t see well they cant study well, if they cant study well they cant progress in life. Based on data available through screening of 300,000 children by the India Vision Institute and provided with free spectacles, 7-8% go to classes and if they are not provided with spectacles they shall not do well in studies and also have issues related to crime and under or unemployment in future. Similarly in another study for adults employed in professions where correct vision is necessary, a pair of spectacles increases productivity by over 34% and their income earning capacity grows by 20%.
He also shared the productivity loss estimated is to the tune of USD 37 billion in India due to the vision related problems. The main barriers to access to eye care are: Lack of Awareness for which he thanked Optician India for a pan India Campaign of this scale and secondly he highlighted lack of availability of spectacles/eye care. Which he said is further related to limited human resources and lack of dispensing outlets in many areas. These issues need to be dealt with considering that the current numbers of Optometrists are roughly around 40 thousand whereas people need at least 3 times these numbers to cater to Immense population. The courses are limited and people need to work together to educate and bring in optometrists and promote entrepreneurship to enable maximum reach for dispensing outlets across the country.
In the final leg of the session, Sh P Ramachandran (Ram) led a discussion on the Statistics shared and gaps there-in with Dr Vinod Daniel & Dr Vijaya Gothwal.
Concluding the session Sh P Ramachandran (Ram) thanked Dr Vikas Mahatme to have helped share a wonderful idea of linking the regular eye exam to a personal event and thus sharing an intent to run through programs in future for using this idea as a theme for generating Eye Awareness in the masses.
This session was preceded by sharing of creative videos under the theme “Look into my Eyes” with over 1000 participating independent opticians across the country through the link: https://opticianindia.net/download and they shared the videos and leaflets/posters of their choice of creative with their customers. The targeted reach for the campaign is expected to be over 10 Lakh persons through the first phase. The second phase shall be in the month of March around the concept of “Eyes make the world look Colorful”.
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