Young girls smiling in glasses.

Refractive Error

Vision and learning are closely related to each other. Globally, more than 12 million children below the age of 15 have uncorrected refractive errors.

The Problem

Did you know that the problem of blurred vision is a very common issue and yet remains one of the biggest challenges that the eye health community in India faces? In clinical terms it is called refractive error. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world resulting in blurred vision. When refractive errors are left uncorrected or when the correction is inadequate, they can cause severe visual impairment and even blindness.

Know more about refractive errors

Refractive errors may not be addressed for a variety of reasons, including lack of awareness by the individual or their family, children not realizing they aren’t seeing clearly, limited availability or affordability of refractive services including glasses and cultural stigmas that discourage the use of glasses.

CHALLENGE

Vision and learning are closely related to each other. Globally, more than 12 million children below the age of 15 have uncorrected refractive errors. They not only suffer poor vision but also face critical setbacks in development since 80% of learning is visual.

When children have difficulty in seeing clearly, be it the blackboard or their books, it hampers their ability to learn in the classroom with their peers. These children also run the risk of being labelled as poor performers, uninterested, naughty, etc. for no real fault of theirs.

OPPORTUNITY

Refractive errors can be easily corrected with glasses or other refractive interventions. Treatment is cost-effective, has a significant impact on quality of life and in many cases can prevent the problem from advancing to severe impairment or blindness.

ACTION

Orbis is working with its partners to fight the problem of uncorrected refractive errors. Our innovative school eye health program, REACH (Refractive Error Among Children) was launched in 2016. REACH aims to reduce visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive error among school-going children and provide a sustainable and scalable solution.

REACH

REACH is an innovative, technology-enabled model for comprehensive delivery of school eye health.

Orbis along with its partners, develops teams of ophthalmic personnel and supports them with digital and clinical equipment to perform vision screening, refraction, prescription and provision of spectacles as well as referral of children to a fixed facility for further examination and treatment as required. REACH also monitors children’s compliance to spectacle wear and encourages a favorable eye health seeking behavior.

There is a very strong focus on data management at all levels and at all steps of REACH. To that end, Orbis has developed REACHSoft, a software solution purpose-built for this program. REACHSoft is designed to support every step of the planning, implementation and management (including monitoring and evaluation) of the program.

At present, this program is helping children with refractive errors in 15 districts, across eight states in India. In fact, we are continuously working to expand the reach of REACH because we believe…

Every child has the right to an early, good quality eye examination, care and support to fulfil their fundamental right to education.

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