Walking blindfolded along with visually impaired school children, celebrated painter Mr Jatin Das led the IVI Walk in the Dark to eradicate ‘preventable’ blindness in Delhi today. An IVI initiative to create awareness about the importance of eye care, the Walk was organized in partnership with Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in the Darya Ganj area in New Delhi.
India is home to 131 million visually impaired people; and it has been estimated that over 80% of global visual impairment is preventable or treatable. Uncorrected Refractive Error is one of the major causes of blindness worldwide. The Indian economy loses potential productivity worth INR 126,500 crores or $23 billion due to uncorrected refractive errors - an avoidable cause of blindness.
Over 400 people from all walks of life walked in support of the cause, including several local dignitaries, students from Optometry and other schools and colleges and staff of Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) and India Vision Institute (IVI) carrying placards and banners with eye care messages. A group of 10 young leaders in eye care from across India also participated in the Walk as a practical lesson in assuming and demonstrating leadership as part of the second IVI Young Leaders Workshop.
“There is a direct correlation between learning and vision and it is unfortunate that crores of Indian school children cannot achieve their full potential because they do not have access to a pair of glasses”, said IVI CEO, Mr Mr Vinod Daniel. “Through IVI Eye SEE & I Learn and Eye SEE & I Work campaigns, we are raising funds to provide free pairs of spectacles to enable children to improve their performance and adults to get back to work and lead a better life with restored eye sight”, he added.
“A 100 year old leader in eye care service, Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital stands tall among the quality eye health institutions of India. It is proud to partner IVI in the walk to highlight the cause of combating blindness in India, most of which is preventable”, said Mr Arun Arora, CEO of Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital.
Similar Walks organized at Chennai in November 2014 and Hyderabad in April 2015 received enthusiastic response, including from the media. While popular actress Khushboo Sundar led the Walk in Chennai; Ms Lakhmi Manchu did the honours in Hyderabad. Over the next twelve months IVI will be organising walks in a number of other Indian cities including Bangalore and Mumbai.
India Vision Institute (IVI) is an independent, not-for-profit registered trust established in 2011. It is focused on supporting and promoting awareness, research, education and technological development in Indian optometry to advance capacity in vision correction and prevention of eye disease and blindness. (www.indiavisioninstitute.org)
Established in 1914, SCEH has a passion to build a world free of preventable blindness and deafness, driven by compassion towards the society at large. It strongly believes in building sustainable and affordable eye/ear care delivery systems which reach out to the remotest of areas of our country. It has chosen to focus on Comprehensive Eye & Ent Care, Quality consciousness, Community Impact, Research, Publication & training and above all, Transparency as the building blocks for the future (www.sceh.net)