Sightsavers is an organization that is committed to helping prevent blindness in developing countries. They often help children who have vision problems. They have worked alongside the governments in developing countries in order to provide screenings for children.
Imran Khan started wearing glasses when he was 10-years-old. He immediately noticed a difference. He was able to recognize people from across the room. He was also able to watch television. He is 40-years-old now and often reflects on how his life would be different if he did not wear glasses. Eighty percent of learning is done visually. He knows that his education would have suffered if he had not gotten glasses.
It is estimated that 10 percent of children in developing countries have vision problems. Ninety percent of these children have a refractive error that has not been corrected. This means that when they try to see something, it is blurry. This problem can easily be corrected with glasses.
However, developing countries have many challenges that make it hard for children to get the eye care that they need. There are not enough professionals in the country to carry out eye examinations. Most of the eye doctors are located in capital cities. Many people are unable to afford glasses. Not only can many parents not afford to pay for glasses, but they also cannot afford to travel to an eye clinic.
Additionally, some people have misconceptions about glasses. They do not know about all of the benefits that can be reaped from wearing glasses. Many believe that they will weaken their eyes by wearing glasses. There is also a stigma associated with wearing glasses in other countries. Indian girls believe that wearing glasses will stop them from getting a husband.
There are school vision programs that have been developed in order to address these issues. However, there is often a lack of coordination between the ministries of education and health. In many cases, screening is only done one time. There does not seem to be an agreement on when the screening should start, how often the screening should be done and when a child should be given glasses.
Sightsavers have partnered with School Health Integrated Programme and Partnership for Child Development in order to address this issue. They have teamed up to reach more children. The children will also be able to spend more time in school because they will not have to travel to a clinic.
There are three main objectives that the groups are focusing on. They are identifying schools that are in need of screening. They are also training teachers to carry out vision screenings. Children who have vision problems will be referred to a mobile unit. They will be able to get glasses free of charge. The teachers who participated in the screening will also be screened for vision problems and given glasses if needed.
Forty-hundred and seventy-six teachers in 158 schools have been trained so far. Over 57,000 children have been screened. Additionally, 1,017 pairs of glasses have been dispensed.