Odisha, India, October 3, 2023 – More people living in northwest Odisha and surrounding areas will have access to comprehensive eye health screening, prescription eyeglasses and specialist referral, thanks to the opening of two new vision centres, established by Operation Eyesight Universal in partnership with Trilochan Netralaya and Mahanadi Netralaya Chiktsalaya – Lepra Society.
The vision centres, located in the Tushura Block of Belangir district and the Bheden Block of Bargarh district, will act as local eye health hubs that will not only bring accessible and affordable eye health care to patients but also connect them with their local health system.
“Although most eye conditions can easily be treated by a simple pair of prescription eyeglasses or a surgery, many people are unable to access the eye care they need due to a variety of factors, including lack of services in their area, lack of information and financial limitations,” says Dr. Troy Cunningham, Country Director – India, Operation Eyesight Universal. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors in Canada and partners in the local community, we are bringing quality eye health care to those who need it most.”
To support the new vision centres, Operation Eyesight is training a team of female community health volunteers who will conduct door-to-door eye health screenings as well as provide public education on topics like personal hygiene, immunization, and maternal and infant health. Patients requiring more advanced treatment will be referred to one of our partner hospitals for care.
“Clear vision and healthy eyes are an important part of overall health and wellness. Access to quality eye health care comes with a host of benefits for people of all ages, allowing them to work, go to school, maintain independence and stay engaged in the community,” Cunningham explains. “Our goal is to declare communities as avoidable blindness-free, where no patient experiences untreated vision loss or blindness, and patients know where to seek care when they need it.”
In the state of Odisha, nearly 18 per cent of people experience visual impairment and 1.77 per cent of individuals over the age of 50 are blind. The leading causes of vision loss and blindness in the state are cataracts and uncorrected refractive error.
“Partnership with local hospitals and with members in the community plays a key role in making diagnosis and treatment services available for those in our project areas in Odisha,” says Abhishek Trivedi, Programme Manager, Operation Eyesight. “Together, we are not only preventing blindness and restoring sight but also strengthening entire health systems.”
Operation Eyesight Universal is an international development organization working to prevent blindness and restore sight in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1963, the organization has partnered with physicians and communities in India to bring accessible and affordable eye care to those who need it most. Operation Eyesight currently works with communities across 84 districts in 18 Indian states. To date, Operation Eyesight has declared more than 1,200 villages as Avoidable Blindness-Free.
Operation Eyesight India is a registered charitable Trust. To learn more or to make a donation, visit operationeyesightindia.org.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Troy Cunningham
Country Director, India
Operation Eyesight Universal