Rationale

Largest number of blind persons

According to World Health Organization, there are 39 million people across the globe blind among the 285 million persons who are visually impaired.

VISION 2020 is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations. It has sought the cooperation of everyone to work for ’prevention all avoidable blindness’.

A survey by the National Programme to Control Blindness (NPCB) covering 40,000 people all over the country, including 3,200 in Karnataka, has pointed out that 13.7 per cent of the population in the State suffers from blindness as against the national average of 8.5 per cent.

The national blindness control programme is striving hard through various programmes. Apart from the large numbers, what worries is the fact that the persons with vision disabilities face negative attitudes and discrimination in our society. Social interaction, education, marriage and getting employment will be difficult, even more so for women. Children with vision disabilities are neglected or may be over-protected.

Community negative attitude may create problems leading to social and economic dependency, lack of mobility, lack of information and lack of family environment. Though Persons with Disability Act of India 1995 makes certain provisions for blind persons, these are not reaching especially those living in rural areas.

At present approximately only 35,000 corneas are collected in the country every year, whereas 150,000 are required annually to combat corneal blindness.

Thus there is a great need to contribute in the line of eye donations, eye care, and early identification of blindness, early intervention, primary care, secondary care and treatment to prevent the possible permanent blindness along with strategies for mainstreaming the visually challenged.

Therefore, the project vision has decided to develop this long-term plan to reduce blindness, to promote eye care awareness, to prevent possible blindness and to provide justice to children, women with visual impairment and deaf and blind persons in line with the global and national programs.

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