Orbis Launches Report on Status of Child Eye Health in India

Orbis India, in collaboration with Ipsos, launched its ‘Status of Child Eye Health in India: A Comprehensive Report’ on World Sight Day, a program of Vision 2020: Right to Sight-India today. The Report was launched by the Chief Guest at the Vision 2020 program, Dr. G N Rao, Founder and Chairman, LV Prasad Eye Institute. 

Dr. Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director, Orbis India said, “The report brings to light 8-10 conditions in children, that if diagnosed early can prevent childhood blindness: These conditions are Childhood Cataract, Childhood Glaucoma, Strabismus (Squint), Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), Refractive Errors, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), Retinoblastoma. One in every 1000 children is blind, where in most cases, the blindness was avoidable, if it had been caught early. Also, the report highlights the urban-rural disparity – urban areas would have 1 ophthalmologist for 10,000 people; in rural it is 1 for every 2,50,000 people. The report also talks about the interventions that can improve child eye health in India – the preventive model, eye screening, building awareness, focus on refractive error, expansion of healthcare, vaccination, Vitamin A supplementation, provision of visual aids etc.”   

Tripti Sharma, Research Director, Ipsos Public Affairs, India said, “Data in form of facts, numbers, and what works are essential ingredients for driving policies and scaling initiatives. There are very few studies in India to estimate the prevalence of childhood blindness, discuss impact of weal eye care infrastructure of children, or what we have learnt about what has worked as successful models of prevention, care, or promotion. We hope that the information on existing approaches and intervention including recommendations by leading experts, lay out the road map for a comprehensive service model integrated within primary healthcare delivery that prevents avoidable childhood blindness for millions of our children.”

“At Ipsos our focus is to present research in form that aids decision making and strengthens development programmes. The report is a comprehensive compilation of different eye health conditions, magnitude, causes and available treatment options. It further provides an overview of programmes across India that are addressing the issue of child eye health care.  This report thus aims to serve public health professionals, primary healthcare providers, early childcare providers, policy makers, community and business leaders, community-based organizations, educators, and others interested in improving the health of children in general with special focus on eye care. It lays out the road map for a comprehensive service model integrated within primary healthcare delivery that prevents avoidable childhood blindness for millions of our children.”

The report is being launched at an opportune time on World Sight Day to stress the prevalence of eye health problems in India and recommend possible solutions, particularly for children. The Child Eye Report acts as an umbrella of information related to eye care, including the magnitude of the problem, causes and conditions in children, Orbis’s Child Eye Health model and best practices that outline the current landscape for children’s eye health in India. The report also discusses some of the gaps present on both the demand and supply sides of eye health in India. 

Orbis India has been closely working with Ipsos to develop the extensive report. Going beyond the systematic review of literature on child eye health in India, it includes primary research in the form of in-depth interviews with 16 doctors and ophthalmologists who are subject matter experts on different eye conditions.

The report also includes details of Orbis’s Child Eye Health Model and how it has been successfully implemented with Orbis partners across the country. Over the last 20 years in India, Orbis has played a significant role in establishing paediatric ophthalmology as a distinct sub speciality in the ophthalmic landscape, thereby making sure that children across India have access to quality care for generations to come. Orbis has created a network of 33 Children’s Eye Centers (CECs) across 17 States, which is the largest paediatric eye health network in any one country and established 3 Paediatric Ophthalmology Learning and Training Centers. In 2000, there was only one center to provide paediatric ophthalmic care for every 100 million children in India. Now, with Orbis’s contributions and those of others across the eye care community, it has improved to one center for every 20 million children across the country. 

“This World Sight Day, we proudly celebrate Orbis’s 20 years of work in India, training eye care professionals and working with local partners to fight avoidable blindness. The space of paediatric ophthalmology has transformed ever since we began our journey 20 years back. One of the key objectives of our new report, as Orbis completes 20 years in India, is to showcase this transformation, celebrating our achievements while also taking stock of where we are now and chart the way forward,” said Dr. Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director, Orbis India. 

Later this month, Orbis will organize a virtual Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) training program on Simulation for Indian eye care professionals through its award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight. The news comes amid a highly innovative year for the organization, in which Orbis has leveraged technology to pivot its programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. For nearly four decades, the Flying Eye Hospital has travelled the world delivering best-in-class training for eye care professionals in areas with the greatest need. This year, the plane was scheduled to make its 19th visit to India since 1988, but due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbis will instead offer the virtual program, with recorded and live lectures, discussion sessions, and remote simulation training.  Four courses will be offered, focused on medical retina procedures related to diabetic eye disease, cataract surgery, ophthalmic nursing and biomedical engineering.

Orbis will also launch its Simulation Center Manual at the virtual Simulation Symposium, a series of Cybersight webinars on ‘Unlock the Power of Simulation: A Next-Generation Solution to Training Ophthalmic Professionals’ scheduled from 12-16 October 2020.  


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