The Power of Small Things

A simple pair of spectacles came as a boon to 14-year-old Nikita who was diagnosed with refractive error.

Nikita, a student of ninth standard at the GHSS Matigarha Girls School, would often face challenges in seeing clearly but didn’t quite understand the cause or the solution to it.

Her blurred vision affected her life in many ways, most significant of which was how it hampered her academics. Unable to see clearly, and troubled by constant headaches and watering eyes, Nikita’s concentration started waning and eventually, so did her interest in her studies. This was a huge blow, as Nikita, a first-generation student had always scored well in class, and now her academic performance was plummeting.

The door-to-door screenings played a pivotal role in transforming Nikita’s life. Through one of these screenings, a community health worker (CHW), Sangita Paul, stood at Nikita’s doorstep, explaining the purpose and importance of eye screening to her mother, Bijali. Seeing this as a ray of hope, Bijali didn’t waste a moment in getting her daughter’s eyes checked. But Nikita had her own reservations.

Nikita selecting a frame for her new pair of spectacles

Through positive and encouraging discussions, Sangita was able to assuage Nikita’s reluctance and persuade her to undergo a preliminary eye screening that revealed her refractive error. She was then referred to the nearest vision center. She was brought to the Siliguri Greater Lions Vision Center in Shivmandir in the hospital vehicle, where she underwent a comprehensive vision screening by a pediatric optometrist, and after thorough discussions and counselling, she was provided with a brand-new pair of spectacles.

Financing Nikita’s treatment was also a major concern for Nikita’s parents. With a meagre income and the lockdown restricting most activities, being able to access and afford eye care seemed like a challenge. This issue was also resolved with not just primary screening at the doorstep, but also the cost of the spectacles being covered under the REACH Project.

Two weeks after receiving her spectacles, Nikita was visited by Sangita, on a follow-up visit. Nikita shared her experience with Sangita. “My headaches are now gone, and I am gradually able to concentrate again like I used to,” she stated, overjoyed. Nikita’s story is a testament to how small things can go a long, long way!

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