Community Ophthalmology

“Kannoli-Vision Saver”

Outreach Services have been the foundation services of the Hospital right from inception and are the primary raison of the organization.

Cataract Screening. With the motive of helping in eradication of avoidable blindness, we recognized the need to address the three A’s which were impediments – Awareness, Access and Affordability. By conducting our intervention in Community Ophthalmology through the Rural Outreach Programme titled “Kannoli – Vision Saver”, we have addressed the problems of access and affordability and with our formidable team of volunteers in the villages, we have successfully addressed Awareness on curability of blindness due to Cataract. The intervention involves the following:

  • Screening
  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Pre-operative checks
  • Surgeries
  • Pre-discharge review
  • Drop back to camp location
  • Post operative reviews after 7 days and 30 days

Needless to say, the entire intervention is free of cost to the patient

Vanavil – School Children Screening. The other vulnerable segment needing attention through the Outreach were the School Children. Project “Vanavil (Rainbow)” was designed to deliver this service through a joint engagement with teachers, District Administration, sponsors and the Hospital. (More …) (Clicking on More should lead to the current page on School screening)

Truck Drivers Screening. Launched in partnership with Sightsavers, this outreach initiative is targeted to another vulnerable segment which needs support.

With 6 million truck drivers in India, the trucking industry represents a notable proportion of the labour force (2.5%) in India. The impact of blindness on the trucking industry has important social and economic implications on the rest of the country since visual impairment of truckers can cause road traffic accidents, delay in delivery of goods etc. There is no study done on blindness among truckers so far. However, considering the 1% prevalence of blindness in India, it can be presumed that many truckers would be suffering from visual impairment.

Truckers form a part of the floating population who are prone to various diseases due to the amount of travel and sanitation facilities available. One of the major factors that impact their livelihood is ‘in-attentional blindness’. Studies show that truckers are vulnerable to eye ailments as well as blindness due to various health conditions required to maintain eye health and care.

  • Mental and physical workload
  • Less/ no sleep
  • Hazardous and long distance driving/ travels, which causes immense strain to the eyes
  • Impaired ability to retain attention caused, quite often, by consumption of drugs, alcohol, fatigue and age
  • Exposure to blinding lights

These factors lead to various eye disorders like –

  • Poor/ low vision
  • Partial blindness
  • Total blindness
  • Night blindness

The objective of the intervention is to contribute in reduction of avoidable blindness among Occupational Drivers (Truck, Bus) of Chennai by means of sustainable approaches. The approached adopted are two-pronged. The first approach is conduct of outreach camps in various hubs where trucks congregate where the screening is carried out and those in need of spectacles are either given immediately or if readymade spectacles are unavailable, have these delivered through the offices of the trucking company. The second approach is through the setup of a static Vision Centre fully equipped to screen drivers within a truck terminal and available to the drivers whenever they visit the terminal. Here the testing can be more comprehensive and spectacles can be immediately dispensed or handed over when the driver next comes to the terminal. In both models the entire intervention, including dispensing of spectacles, is free of cost to the drivers.

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Camps

As someone with diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy. People with diabetes need to have a full eye exam every year. DR is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness. Diabetic eye screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss. Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision. In the rural area, people with DR may not get identified in the routine screening camps – the Hospital conducts special camps for DR Screening once every quarter to identify patients with potential retina problems and since this intervention is likely to be a prolonged one, they are advised to come to the Hospital along with their attendants. Almost all such patients are covered under the Tamilnadu Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme and Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana in Odisha and hence they will be eligible for free treatment.

Glaucoma Screening Camps

Glaucoma, known as a sneak thief of eyesight, is one of the most sight threatening conditions of the eye. It usually occurs among people above 40 years of age especially those who have a family history of glaucoma. It is caused due to excess build-up of fluid inside the eye, which in normal case, is drained in blood stream. The fluid exerts pressure on vital parts of the eye like optic nerve and causes irreversible damage. Initially, field vision is affected.

Screening patients in the rural areas for Glaucoma is a challenge. Detailed investigation to confirm Glaucoma can be best done in the Hospital and hence quarterly screening is carried out at the Hospital itself with adequate publicity given in the villages. Village volunteers and sponsors are encouraged to bring such patients to the Hospital. Since the treatment is covered under TNCMCHIS, the patient gets free service