Eye screening success in rural India

A two and a half year Diabetic Retinopathy screening program in rural India, funded by Alcon and implemented by LV Prasad Eye Institute through Optometry Giving Sight, has recently concluded, with outstanding results.


The project was started in Thoodukurty Village Vision Complex (VVC), Mahaboobnagar district in December 2012, and then integrated into the VVCs of Karmachedu, Markapuram and Kandukur in Prakasam district in March 2013, incorporating thirty vision centres and three secondary service centres.


Those identified with diabetes and / or hypertension were referred by vision health guardians to vision centres which acted as a triage point for subsequent referral for eye and other health check-ups.


A total of 486 screening programs were undertaken, with 33,452 people screened and 8,498 referred to a secondary centre, and 233 referred to a tertiary centre. 299 new cases of diabetes were diagnosed, 773 people received glasses and 847 people benefitted from surgery.


25 Vision health guardians were trained as diabetes and hypertension educators in the study area; providing awareness and linking their communities to the appropriate service delivery locations.  As a result, 34,532 underwent hypertension screening, with 1,189 newly diagnosed cases.


Optometry Giving Sight thanks all those involved in successfully creating a comprehensive Diabetes eye care delivery system model to prevent avoidable blindness due to Diabetic Retinopathy and looks forward to future efforts to extend the program into other areas.