Gift of Vision is a flagship initiative of Sankara Eye Foundation India to provide free eye care at the door steps of rural India. Under Gift of Vision, we reach out to the elderly through our network of field workers, doctors and paramedics. With the rural poor struggling to survive within their limited means and remain independent; the significance of good eye sight is undeniable. However, it is common for them to overlook this critical need and accept the gradual deterioration of their vision, ultimately leading to total and irreversible blindness.
Cataract has been recognized to be the most significant cause of bilateral blindness in India. Cataract has been reported to be responsible for the 50-80% of the bilaterally blindness in the country. In the year 2000, number of blind persons in India was estimated to be 18.7 million, of which 9.5 million were cataract-related and 3 million refractive error-related. Though the prevalence of cataract blindness would decrease with the surgical intervention, the absolute number of cataract blind would increase from 7.75 million in 2001 to 8.25 million in 2020 due to a substantial increase in the population above 50 years in India over this period. In developing countries, such as India, a massive effort by the Government and the private sector will be required to cater to the rising need of the rapidly aging population.
As the name suggests, Gift of Vision is the programme which was initiated with the aim of reaching out to the rural community and provide timely eye care interventions to prevent and cure blindness, and thereby provide the Gift of Vision. The programme reaches out to the underserved communities, needing comprehensive eye care services at their door step, through a well-trained team of field staff, doctors and paramedics. This is the oldest community outreach programme which was started in 1990 with the active participation of Rotary International and Rotary Coimbatore Central. The programme is now additionally supported by District Blindness Control Society (Part of the National Programme for Control of Blindness, Government of India), Sankara Eye Foundation USA and Sight Savers (U.K).
Community Mobilization before Camp
We focus on restoring good vision for creating better lives. Overall, free transport, meals & accommodation for patients through the Gift of Vision programme, has helped in overcoming economic barriers and reaching out to the community on a large scale.
Today Sankara is one of the largest community eye care service provider in India and the only organization treating 80% of its beneficiaries completely free of cost and cross subsidizing the expenses with income generated from 20% of paying beneficiaries. Effective financial planning, transformational partnership, innovative ideas & structured training process is all that Sankara has adopted to rationalize it’s vision restoration programs on a national scale. Gift of Vision is operational in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh where Sankara Eye Hospitals are situated. Till now, we have conducted over 1.7 million free eye surgeries across these 7 States, and screened over 4.6 million people for better visual outcomes.
Eye Care Beyond Compare
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