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Tuesday / May 21.
HomeminewsBlindness Prevention for India

Blindness Prevention for India

Optometry Giving Sight is providing important seed funding to help stimulate the development of optometry, vision care and blindness prevention for the 1.1 billion inhabitants of India.

This ambitious new project is being implemented by the Optometric and Ophthalmic Associations in India with help from the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), LV Prasad Eye Institute, Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, Australia – India Council, and the World Optometry Foundation.

The long term aim is to enable the people of India to have access to comprehensive, affordable and high-quality primary eye and vision care, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status.

“India is a country of huge potential with a fantastic can-do attitude in many of the key sectors of society,” said Professor Brien Holden, CEO of ICEE and Chief Mentor for the project. “There is great excitement for this project and plans are already well underway to establish and register the Indian Optometry Federation (IOF) whose function will be to provide a common platform and united voice for Optometry in India.”

There are at least 123 million people in India who are blind or vision impaired because they cannot access the eye care and spectacles they need,” he said. “This project will help to develop the educational infrastructure required to enable the massive human resource development scale-up needed in optometry to address the backlog of uncorrected refractive error.

Prof. Holden said that the IOF would now move quickly to create an Optometry Council of India, which would register and regulate all optometrists and optometric levels based on their level of skills/competency.

A national system for the accreditation of optometry schools, colleges and training institutions is planned to be implemented by 2015 at the latest and optometry training nationally will consist of at least a four year degree course at a recognised university or equivalent government-recognised institution by 2020 (or at a time defined by legislation).

“There are at least 123 million people in India who are blind or vision impaired because they cannot access the eye care and spectacles they need,” he said. “This project will help to develop the educational infrastructure required to enable the massive human resource development scale-up needed in optometry to address the backlog of uncorrected refractive error.”

Prof. Holden said the country is working towards creating 110,000 four year trained optometrists for India by 2030 from an existing base of 4,000 four year trained and 40,000 two year trained optometrists. This will require the creation of 1000 PhD academics and the completion of 100 schools of optometry from the 50 schools and colleges at present.