India currently has over 15 million blind people against 39 million globally, which makes India home to world’s largest population of blind people. Over 52 million people are visually impaired and 75 % of these cases are of avoidable blindness. Over the years, scientific knowledge and clinical advancement have allowed clinicians to cure many life threatening diseases, yet hundreds of medical problems persist even today which are beyond the scope of medical science. Permanent Blindness and Visual Impairment are among those problems where numerous efforts of medical fraternity failed to deal with non-treatable causes of blindness.
Numerous incurable eye diseases leave thousands of patients into a lifetime of despair every year. In such situation, Vision rehabilitation plays a major role in enabling visually impaired to cope with vision loss, continue education, travel safely, manage household chores, meet the career objectives & enjoy leisure activities.
Vision rehabilitation is the process of treatment and education that helps individuals who are visually impaired attain maximum function, a sense of well-being, a personally satisfying level of independence and optimum quality of life.
Vision rehabilitation does not focus on the amount of vision lost. It is a planned process that works with the residual functional vision.
Vision rehabilitation cannot restore lost sight, but it can equip you with techniques to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Vision Rehabilitation Centre at Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore was first established in the year 2013 with some basic facilities. Later with support of ARM Embedded Technologies Private Ltd it was developed into a one of a kind comprehensive ARM Vision Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore city. The fully established centre was formally inaugurated on December 9, 2014 at Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore.
This project aims to provide comprehensive vision rehabilitation services to people with Visual Impairment at their doorstep. It enables them to maximize their Functional, Social, Psychological, Economical independence and improve their quality of life. Thereby, allowing visually challenged individuals to live an independent productive life.
It is a very important component of Vision Rehabilitation training program. Counsellors make parents/ patients understand about the visual condition and present status of vision. Parents are educated for early identification and training of the child for appropriate development and undergo special skills training for independent living.
This is provided to the children of 0 to 6 years of age group. It includes vision stimulation exercises to stimulate the brain to utilise the residual vision to its maximum. In addition to it, a play way method of vision assessment is done for pre lingual and multiple disabled kids. Kids who cannot cooperate or understand the regular eye assessment are called for Functional Vision Assessment. (FVA).
Special Skills Training
This also includes training in adapted skills for independent living which includes basic concepts, education, socialisation, recreation independent mobility, home management.
Visual Skills Training
The child will be encouraged or trained in skills like attention, fixation, tracking, follow path, depth perception and perceptual skills.
Entire home management with the mock kitchen and daily activities set up gives practical training to manage daily chores including deep fry cooking.
Training for multiply challenged
Separate training method is required for children who have more than one disability. The same is maintained with full set up and with appropriate professionals.
Based on the Visual prognosis of the child educational guidance will be suggested.
Modes of Education
Training in low Vision Devices & Assistive software
Students who are not able to copy board work and read text will be prescribed Low Vision Devices.
Visually impaired / blind can also operate computers like their sighted peers. Vision Rehabilitation Department is equipped with special software to make the person with Low vision and person with blindness to learn and operate computers. Some of the software’s are;
Guidance to avail governmental benefits based on their percentage of disability. Separate library exclusively for the visually impaired with accessible format. Some of the services are Information providing in these areas:
Based on the developmental assessment, a child is referred to a multidisciplinary team which comprises of:
The Vision Rehabilitation Department at Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore imparted Vision Rehabilitation training to 346 visually impaired patients in the year 2016-2017.
42 visually impaired children have received Vision Rehabilitation Training through Maitri Mobile Vision Rehabilitation Programme since the launch in Jan 2017. 5% of patients who received vision rehabilitation training through Maitri Programme aged 0-5 years, 43 % patient aged 6-18 years and 52 % of patients aged above 18 years
The Vision Rehabilitation Department at Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore imparted Vision Rehabilitation training to 200 visually impaired patients in the year 2017-2018.
102 visually impaired children have received Vision Rehabilitation Training through Maitri Mobile Vision Rehabilitation Programme in the period 2017-2018 . 1% of patients who received vision rehabilitation training through Maitri Programme aged 0-5 years, 88 % patient aged 6-18 years and 11 % of patients aged above 18 years.
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