World Report on Vision Launch in India: Some Key Aspects

As Vision 2020 INDIA marks World Sight Day with the launch of the WHO report, we put together some key aspects, discussions and areas in eye care that can be done based on it. Also, see how Orbis work is aligned with the findings and observations of the World Report on Vision

Challenges in met and unmet needs

• Available data provide an incomplete picture of the met and unmet needs for eye care • Addressing unmet needs and ensuring services are planned and provided according to population needs • Integration of eye care in health strategic plans; workforce; and coordination with the private sector

Challenges in research

• Lack of implementation, impact and health systems research related to eye care. • Gaps in data, particularly related to monitoring trends and evaluating progress. Integration in health information systems

Nepalese paediatric patient Krish awaits an eye exam

Challenges in eye care services

• Inequalities in coverage • Uneven quality of eye care services • Fragmented services that are poorly integrated into health systems • Inadequate access to eye care is a major cause of the uneven distribution.

Fighting blindness caused by diabetes in Bangladesh

The actual challenge

Population ageing, coupled with lifestyle changes (less time spent outdoors, and increasingly sedentary life-styles and unhealthy eating habits), are causing the number of people with eye conditions and vision impairment to increase.

Child in glasses.

Global numbers

• Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. • The prevalence of vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is estimated to be four times higher than in high-income regions.

Can we look towards Integrated People Centered Eye Care (IPEC)?

Achieving IPEC by adapting the framework of integrated people-centered health services to eye care, requires the following four strategies: • Empowering and engaging people and communities; • Reorienting the model of care; • Coordinating services within and across sectors; and • Creating an enabling environment

A small child walks along a hospital corridor, her mother covering one eye with her hand

Making eye care part of universal health coverage (UHC)

Achieving UHC is the major challenge and we should aim to work with government agencies in piloting a workable model in this area. These initiatives can be planned as part of our strategies by integrating eye care into the existing primary health care set ups with the support of micro financing schemes.

Angeline Chaipa, nurse volunteer, on the Flying Eye Hospital

Promote high-quality research

To sustain implementation of IPEC, high-quality implementation and health systems research is required, thus complementing existing evidence for effective eye care interventions. Moreover, studies analyzing the costs and benefits of implementing the package of eye care interventions at the individual and societal level will be necessary.

Health Literacy

• The promotion of eye protective behaviors can also be considered interventions for health promotion and may include compliance with spectacle wear, time spent outdoors, and the use of sunglasses among school-aged students. • Raise awareness and engage and empower people and communities

Cataract is now the leading cause of addressable blindness in young children

• Also, the report says: Early detection and referral are essential, with availability of tertiary eye care services for children: To address these issues, Orbis's flagship program, India Childhood Blindness Initiative, is spread across 17 states among 33 partners and continues to reach 1 million children every year.

No. of children and adolescents with refractive error, particularly myopia, is set to increase substantially in coming decades

This finding validates our efforts towards Refractive Error Among Children (REACH) program which we began in 2016 and concluded its first phase in 2019. At present we are have begin REACH Phase II

Appropriate planning and additional investment to strengthen existing health system is necessary

Through our Green Vision Center initiative in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, at present, we hope to impact the Sustainable Development Goals related to responsible consumption of clean energy while we provide primary eye care services to the community

The adoption of telehealth solutions as an effective measure to address accessibility

Through our telemedicine platform Cybersight, trainings and remote mentorship continue. Apart from that, given the pandemic, some Orbis partner hospitals have been equipped with tools for teleconsultation.

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