Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic: eliminating rural avoidable blindness in western Uttar Pradesh, India.
Dr Pradeep Agarwal on behalf of the CL Gupta Eye Institute, India.
To tackle the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Moradabad region of Uttar Pradesh, through ocular screening services, spectacle provision and ophthalmic surgeries
India is facing an escalating health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has severely impacted routine patient visits to healthcare facilities and has hindered campaigns to battle avoidable blindness. This has created significant delays in the provision of eyecare services to rural populations in India, which will increase the numbers of patients with irreversible eye conditions, if a portal for accessible eyecare is not urgently provided to these regions.
To tackle this issue, the CL Gupta Eye Institute (CLGEI) has already established 23 tele-ophthalmology enabled vision centers, which are furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. This initiative aims to use XOVA funding to provide further eyecare training to the health workers at each center, in order to screen a minimum of 345,000 individuals living in identified clusters around each vision center. Identified individuals with possible refractive error, cataract and other eye diseases will be referred to nearby vision centers for further examination. Comprehensive eye examinations will be provided to a minimum of 55,200 individuals, and an estimated 9660 pairs of spectacles will be dispensed at these vision centers. Individuals identified with eye diseases will be further referred to the CLGEI, where treatment will be provided to over 5520 individuals.