Asia, India/Uttar Pradesh: Childhood blindness
Pradeep Agarwal on behalf of C. L. Gupta Eye Institute, Moradabad, India

Aim

Effectiveness of training teachers in vision screening of school children.

The project

According to the State Census 2011, the most populated state in India is Uttar Pradesh with a population of 199.6 million, of whom 0.7 million are visually impaired. Assessment of visual status of school-going children is essential because it plays a crucial role in their learning and personality development. Refractive error is the commonest cause of poor vision. Community-based strategies can help in early detection of vision problems in children, especially in rural areas. Due to its wide coverage, vision screening in schools by teachers is an effective method of identifying children with abnormal vision.

The goals of this project are to evaluate the effectiveness of introducing teachers as the first level vision screeners in reducing childhood blindness, equip facilities with appropriate supplies to increase treatment, and conduct a large-scale multimedia education campaign with eye care messages targeted to 180,000 community members.

The training provided to teachers will include theory lectures covering the magnitude of childhood blindness, the importance of early detection of vision problems in children, the role of teachers in early detection of childhood eye diseases and the methodology of vision screening of school children. A trained optometrist will practically demonstrate the process of vision assessment and the steps involved. Teachers will be provided with kits containing a vision screening chart, 6 metre measuring tape, forms for recording of vision screening results and educational material. They will then conduct vision screening of all the children up to the age of 16 years in their respective schools. A total of 120 teachers will be trained and educated to screen 45,000 children and identify those in need of vision care. All the identified children by the teachers will be re-examined by a team of an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an ophthalmic technician.

The simplicity of the concept, the ease of its application and the wider coverage provided guarantee the effectiveness of this project. Trained school teachers will continue vision screening and referring children to eye care facilities. Good linkages between eye-care services and school teachers will ensure the sustainability of this project. Advocacy with regulatory bodies will be done to ensure that children undergo vision screening examination on regular basis, as part of the school health program.

Website of organisation: www.clgei.org

Booklet developed for children. This booklet contains message about children eyecare in form of stories Optometrist enjoying with school children after eye screening Training session for teachers (at CLG eye institute) Training session for teachers (at community level) Teachers waiting outside mobile vision van at school Primary screening at school Discussion on children eye care with students at school Pediatric ophthalmologist doing eyamination Children participating in primary screening Performing diagnostic test at School screening.