50,000 underprivileged children in UP to benefit from vision screenings

A new SEE NOW vision screening program in nine districts of Uttar Pradesh is set to benefit 50,000 underprivileged school children. Those children found to suffer from uncorrected refractive errors will be given free spectacles.

The school screenings are being organised by India Vision Institute in Mathura, Etawah, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Moradabad, Amroha, Sambhal, Aligarh and Lucknow districts of UP. IVI has screened about 21,000 underprivileged children in these districts so far. Glasses for those in need will be provided by Essilor’s Vision for Life.

The focused program will be particularly beneficial since children between the ages of seven and 15 years in rural India are found to have refractive error as the main cause of visual impairment. A pair of corrective spectacles following vision screenings to those children found to have refractive issues will have a significant impact in their lives, especially helping them in their education and development.

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India Vision Institute (IVI), together with The Fred Hollows Foundation, Essilor’s social impact fund Vision for Life and other partners, is part of the SEE NOW campaign launched on February 1 by campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign will raise awareness about eye health and encourage people to get their vision screened.

A pilot phase of the SEE NOW campaign in 2019 covered five UP districts reaching 32 million people with eye health messaging and screened over 9,000 people. The second phase of the campaign, between February 1 and March 15, 2020, will cover over 30 districts in UP, aims to screen 400,000 people and reach over 200 million people with eye health messaging thanks to the support of Mr Bachchan and partners.

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The Fred Hollows Foundation Deputy CEO Nick Martin said he was delighted to be able to take the campaign to its next phase and expand its coverage across the state. “Dealing with refractive errors is one of our current priorities and we are delighted to partner with India Vision Institute in this phase to address this specific issue,” he said.

IVI’s CEO, Vinod Daniel said: “SEE NOW offers a great opportunity for IVI to be a partner to vision screen children for correcting refractive error. The screenings are able to reach out to children in schools hitherto unreached. These children will be able to see and read better and can hope to look forward to a better future.”

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“Across India and as part of our Eye See & I Learn program, IVI has undertaken over 850 vision screening programs, covering around 300,000 children, and has distributed free spectacles to over 30,000 children in 18 states of the country,” he noted.

Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer, Essilor International, said: “Essilor is delighted to be a partner in the campaign. Our eyes are our most important sense and ensuring children in UP and across India can see clearly is one of the best ways we can help them up to reach their full potential in life.”