To combat the issue of widespread eye care neglect, this program selects a specific school in India that has displayed a need for a proper eye checkup. Schools that are eligible must have a student body that is mostly made up of (50% or greater) members of lower income bracket or caste.
Students from each school are pulled from class and screened using an eye chart. Based off of each student's success with the eye chart, they will either be sent back to class if they show no issues reading or will be sent to have their vision checked by the autorefractor.
If an eye defect in a child is detected beyond the scope of this program (e.g., a cataract), they will be directly referred to another institution which can help them.
The program uses an autorefractor (Matronix Q 30+) to check each child who failed the eye chart screening. The machinery is provided by Prashant Tahiliani, the program optometrist. Mr. Tahiliani will then double check the prescriptions produced by the machinery using a set of lenses. Based off of the results, each child that demonstrates a need for glasses will receive a pair.
Glasses are distributed a few weeks after the screening camp at each school. All glasses are made by Mr. Tahiliani. The program, with help from the school, systematically organizes students by grade level and distributes the glasses to each child. Each pair is tried on and is checked once again for complete accuracy, ensuring that the students receive a good product.
A comprehensive curriculum is utilized to discuss the importance of glasses. Lessons about eye care and maintenance of glasses are implemented in schools who receive screening. Emphasis is placed on the value of glasses in order to prevent bullying caused by ignorance regarding eye care.
Most importantly, teachers and administrators are responsible for ensuring students wear their prescribed glasses. They are provided with a list of students who have glasses and will be held accountable for requiring they wear their glasses in the classroom. Annual revisits to the school will occur to ensure students in the classroom continue to wear glasses to maintain eye health.
We select schools based on demonstrated need in the greater Kota-Rajasthan area. Lower income brackets regularly indicate higher demand for medical attention due to inabilities for families to afford eye care.
If majority of the student body in a given school (over 50%) are members of lower income brackets they will be contacted by a representative from the program to see if they would like a screening in the school. The glasses provider we have chosen to work with is Prashant Tahiliani, a known optician in the Kota area. He provides glasses for extremely low costs for these high need students; they offer their cheapest frames that do the job effectively. The cost per pair is roughly 3USD. The eye doctor, Dr. SK Gupta, also visits and screens each student at remarkably low prices, approximately 0.75USD per student screened.
Even though the cost of the eyeglasses is relatively low, this program still needs donations to be properly sustained and scaled. Through support from outside resources, this program will continue to benefit the lives of children throughout India and, hopefully, beyond.