The Blindness Prevention Week campaign is planned by the Indian government from 1 to 7 April to raise awareness of the blind. Blindness is a serious problem and a painful condition for people who suffer from it, which cannot be felt by those with eyes. Although the campaign was organized to raise awareness of almost all citizens of the country about the value of eyes for the blind. India has many people who are blind by birth or by chance.
There are 10 million people suffering from blindness in our country. The worldwide number of blind people is approximately 37 million. The Indian government has campaigned to raise awareness and provide better opportunities for the blind by establishing a variety of institutions, agencies, hospitals, etc. During the week, people receive education related to health care and eye care. In some places in India, those affected are protesting for their rights which should be available to them.
April 1-7 is known as the Week of Blindness in India. It is observed to warn and wake society to various factors that cause blindness. The week also teaches people about various eye injuries, visual impairments, prevention, care and treatment. A nationwide effort is being organized through free eye care clinics / camps, teachers, social workers and health care personnel to disseminate good eye hygiene. India Blindness Prevention Week is organized by the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness India (NSPB-I), together with the support of state and local branches.
History of Prevention of Blindness Week
The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness was founded in 1960 (under the Societies Registration Act of 1860) with Jawaharlal Nehru and Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur as founders. NSPB is a completely voluntary organization that receives money through contributions and donations. NSPB actively collaborates with Sight Savers, Rotary International and other large companies. The Indian government has joined the global initiative “Vision 2020: The Right To Sight” launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and other NGOs to eradicate preventable blindness by 2020. India was also the first country to apply for a subsidized loan from the World Bank’s International Development Agency to combat blindness.
Blindness in India: Some Glaring Facts
- Statistics have revealed that India is home to largest number of blind people in the world.
- Over 15 million people are blind in India out of the world’s 37 million blind (2007 records).
- One out of every three people in India is blind.
- The major causes of blindness in India are malnutrition, trachoma & cataract among others. Other causes include shortage of optometrists and donated eyes.
- Deficiency of Vitamin A is the leading cause of childhood blindness.
- The most common cause for blindness across the country is cataract.
- Prevalence of blindness is high in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- In absolute terms, more than two thirds of blind persons are in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Events and Activities
On this day various institutions and organization both government and private, organize:
- Centre and Community Health Centers organize checking for refractive errors and providing free spectacles to needy patients.
- Distribution of free educational material amongst the masses
- Educational activities in the community are held
- Eye care and eye ailment seminars
- Exhibitions on eye health
- Free eye camps
- Prevention of preventable congenital eye diseases by vaccinating adolescent girls for Rubella & Measles
- Posters, hoardings and color leaflets / folders on various topics are displayed and distributed
- Primary Health Schools hold visual health screenings
- Special cataract detection camps are organized
- Training and awareness workshops are organized by various health centers
- Visual Screening of industrial workers