A vision screening campaign by India Vision Institute will benefit 2,500 auto drivers in Puducherry.
India Vision Institute (IVI), an Indian NGO working to prevent avoidable blindness and provide access to a pair of eye glasses, formally launched the campaign on Tuesday in the presence of C Maran, SP, Traffic, Ms Vanjulavalli Sridhar, Indian Forest Service, IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel, Lalit Varma, Aurodhan, and Mananathan Raju Pillai, director with Manatec Automations Pvt Ltd.
“The vision screening began three days ago, with 134 auto drivers, of whom 111 were diagnosed with refractive errors and they have been provided spectacles,” said Mr Daniel.
The locations of screenings in Puducherry so far have included Govindasalai, Kathirkamam and Lawspet.
Supported by the Australian Consulate-General in Chennai, the program will provide auto drivers access to vision screening and a pair of free corrective glasses to those in need of one.
Australia’s Consul-General to South India, Sarah Kirlew said “We are pleased to support this community project in Puducherry under our Direct Aid Program to build on our existing broad-ranging collaboration with India in the field of road safety. Low vision in auto drivers affects their safety as well as that of the public. We are happy to play a small part in addressing this issue through our long-term partner India Vision Institute.”
“We thank the Australian Consulate-General for the support to the program. Good vision is an essential pre-requisite for drivers and IVI has taken the lead in providing vision screening access and corrective glasses to commercial drivers across India. Early detection and timely intervention can easily reduce the risk for road accidents. Eye care has often been of secondary importance among drivers due to lack of awareness, resources, and time. This program for auto drivers will ensure that the beneficiaries would have reasonably good vision enabling them to see better, drive safely and continue to work effectively, as well as improve their quality of life,” Mr Daniel noted.
“So far, IVI’s programs have screened 80,000 commercial drivers in three south Indian states. It was found that as high as 59 per cent of the drivers screened needed spectacles. Around 24 per cent were not able to see at a distance, of which two per cent were severely myopic and had a power of more than minus two, severely compromising their ability to see. Our program in Puducherry will also aim to educate drivers on the need for good vision as well as create the right awareness among the public,” he added.
Since our inception in 2012, IVI’s initiatives have helped nearly 600,000 people, including 300,000 children. In different parts of India. Preventing avoidable blindness through timely interventions of qualified optometrists is a key priority for us. From some 2,000 vision screening programs across India, IVI has provided nearly 150,000 free corrective glasses to people with refractive error.