July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
The Aloka Vision Program - Holistic approach increase availability of eye care in unserved areas in India
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Siegfried Wahl
    ZEISS Vision Science Lab, University Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
    Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Germany
  • Alexander Leube
    ZEISS Vision Science Lab, University Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
    Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Germany
  • Renu Dhasmana
    Himalayan Institute of Medical Science, Dehradun, India
  • Premjeeth Moodbidri
    Carl Zeiss India Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, India
  • Joachim Kuss
    Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Siegfried Wahl, Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH (E); Alexander Leube, Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH (E); Renu Dhasmana, None; Premjeeth Moodbidri, Carl Zeiss India Pvt. Ltd (E); Joachim Kuss, Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH (E)
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 5824. doi:
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      Siegfried Wahl, Alexander Leube, Renu Dhasmana, Premjeeth Moodbidri, Joachim Kuss; The Aloka Vision Program - Holistic approach increase availability of eye care in unserved areas in India. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):5824.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Globally, the leading causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive error (43%) and cataract (33%). These two eye health related conditions are easily treatable by simple glasses or standard surgery resulting in at least 75% of preventable cases of blindness, but often not accessible in unserved areas.The purpose of the current study was to establish eye care screening and service in unserved urban and rural areas in north India. The Aloka Vision Program combines an optometrical and opthalmological screening as mobile eye camps with organized referrals to local eye hospitals.

Methods : The current study reports on vision screenings in the northern India district of Uttarakhand. Vision screening was performed by setting up eye camps in an urban area (Dehradun city, 450m above sea height) and in a rural area (Mussoorie, 2,000m above sea height). Each eye camp included optometrists and ophthalmologists, volunteers from local NGOs and supporting stuff. 402 people, aged between 7 to 80 years, from urban (N = 211) and rural (N = 191) areas in the district of Uttarakhand, India, were screened in regards of refractive error, visual acuity and eye health, specifically for cataract and pterygium.

Results : Mild and severe visual impairment with visual acuity below 0.5 logMAR affected every fifth person, independent from the living environment, whereas the refractive error show a small shift towards more negative values for the urban environment (Delta_M = 0.67D; p = 0.11). The risk for blindness was three times higher in rural compared to the urban area and mainly caused by cataract. With a combination of mobile optometry and opthalmology screening 90% of the attended people could be referred to a vision-improving treatment. This reduces the travel costs for the local inhabitants, their satisfaction and can increase the cost effectiveness of eye screening programs.

Conclusions : Lack of accessibility and affordability were the main reasons for not attending regular vision test in the rural and urban areas. A holistic approach providing ophthalmology inclusive optometry in vision screening combined with a mobile screening camp and a well-organized referral coordination by local NGOs, private companies and local, public health partners, can provide an increase in accessibility and effectiveness for vision and eye care services in rural and urban areas.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.

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