CURRENT PROGRESS OF THE PROJECT
July, 2015 TO September, 2015
Refractive errors are the second major cause of blindness after cataract and the most common reason for patients to consult ophthalmologist or ophthalmic assistant. Over a quarter of the outpatient attendance at all eye clinics and hospitals is due to refractive errors(1). The availability and access of infrastructure, services, trained manpower, cost of spectacles, and community awareness is an area of concern. Pediatric ophthalmology, as a separate subspecialty, is not yet well established, and services targeting children are not often offered separately by ophthalmologists. Training to address ocular problems relating to children is not always a part of every residency program and very few institutions offer post-residency training programs in pediatric ophthalmology(2-5).
Children form one of the main age groups requiring attention to refractive errors because of the high prevalence of myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. The ultimate molding of a person’s personality and potentiality rests with his nature, surroundings and quality of eye sight. The school going years are formative for children in determining their physical, intellectual and behavioral development. Poor vision in childhood affects performance in school and has a negative influence on the development and maturity. Further, most school children do not realize that they are suffering from the ocular disability as they adjust to poor eye sight in different ways. They compensate for their poor vision by sitting closer to the blackboard, or by holding their books close to their eyes. They may also squeeze their eyes. They may also tend not to undertake any work that needs visual concentration, thus affecting their performance(6).
MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM
It is estimated that there are 1.4 million blind children in the world. An additional 7 million suffer from low vision and a further 10 million children have a correctable refractive error causing visual impairment (refractive bilateral visual acuity of <6/ 18). Though no population based nation wide survey has been undertaken on the prevalence of blindness in Pakistan, is estimated to be 0.8/1000 children in the age group of0-15 years. Currently, there are an estimated 270,000 blind children in Pakistan(7,8). Most of the available studies demonstrate that corneal and lenticular conditions are the predominant causes of blindness whereas amongst children outside blind schools, refractive errors are important causes of visual impairment and blindness. Myopia is a common cause of visual impairment which is usually acquired and nearly always progressive. It rarely occurs before the age of 5 years and new cases appear throughout childhood and adolescence, particularly between the ages of 6 to 15 years.
School Eye Health program team of Khyber Eye Foundation is visiting remote areas of District Charsadda where the access of other medical teams is not even possible and carrying out screening of school going children and training of Teachers. The team has so far visited 29 schools and screened out 1242 students. 231 teachers were trained to carry out vision of each students, out of 1242 students 879 students were diagnosed as refractive error and issued glasses free of cost worth of 1160 $. The reason for visiting less schools was due to summer vacations. The future plan of project team is to start its program in District Nowshera, moreover all those students who have cataract problems are referred to Government’s hospitals for further operation / treatment.
The Story of a young boy who had refractive errors and how is life change after he was issued glasses by the project team.
Waqas is a student of KG class of government primary school Koda Khail, lives in a small village in District Charsadda, and belongs to a very poor family. His father is a laborer and supporting his six family members and has no other source of income. The project team visited GPS Koda Khail and received vision testing form from teacher and which found the name of Waqas, when asked from him as to how he used to do his class work from black board, he replied that he sit close to the board and do will his work, and was finding difficulty in reading as well as in writing, he never visited any doctor for eye checkup as his father could not afforded.
Optometrist carried out refraction of Waqas, before refraction his vision was CF 3 meter in right eye and CF 2 meter in left eye, after refraction his vision came 6/12 both eyes, when Waqas received his glasses from school eye health team, a broad / sweet smile came on his face because now he could see what ever is written on the black board, and finding no difficulty in reading.
Khyber Eye Foundation is very thank full to his donors for donating and request to donate maximum so that the future of poor school going children is secured.
Raised 2303 $
Remaining 47197 $