The Indian scientific establishment has made rapid strides backed by brilliant scientists and great laboratories. But they bring little cheer to the masses, particularly those living in the rural areas who account for nearly 70 per cent of the total population, as almost half of them have no access to basic health care facilities. It is a shame for the country.
India is claiming to be an emerging super power, but a huge number of its people are languishing in poor living conditions unable to earn at least two square meals a day.
Among the major public health issues, blindness and vision impairment are affecting the lives of millions due to a variety of reasons.
However, most of the eye ailments are completely curable, but what is needed is extension of medical technology to the grassroots level and the requisite logistical backup. In such a scenario, ‘vision technicians’ can give effective treatment to different types of ailments.
A majority of people are afflicted with cataract and refractive errors, said Gullapalli Nageswara Rao, founder-chairman of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad. He was delivering the Prof. Y. Nayudamma Memorial Lecture on ‘Eye research — Impact on eye health’ jointly organised by the Acharya Nagarjuna University and the Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences (APAS) at the university on Saturday.
Dr. Nageswara Rao said cataract and refractive errors were the two biggest causes of blindness and visual impairment, but they were absolutely within the grasp of vision technicians.
“Problems of the retina, cornea, glaucoma, optic atrophy, and amblyopia (vision deficiency in one of the eyes) are the other significant factors that cause vision problems. Instances of blindness have come down compared to the previous decades due to the support extended by governments and non-governmental organisations, which play a crucial role in sensitising people about the various eye diseases and providing access to advanced means of treatment offered by institutions such as the LVPEI,” he said.
“The LVPEI has revolutionised eye care in the country by setting up ‘Vision Centres’, which render the whole gamut of services from screening to surgical interventions. Besides, a comprehensive training programme is offered to vision technicians.” Acharya Nagarjuna University Vice-Chancellor K. Viyyanna Rao and APAS president Ch. Mohan Rao were present.