Reduced vision because of uncorrected refractive errors is a major public health problem in school children in India. Vision screening should be done to identify children with unsuspected remediable conditions, so that treatment can be offered before educational and social progress is affected. The conditions that are commonly detected in eye screening in school children are refractive errors (myopia, astigmatism and hypermetropia) and amblyopia, apart from other ocular diseases.
Refractive error remains the main cause of visual impairment in children aged between 7 and 15 years in rural India. Because visual impairment can have a significant impact on a child's life in terms of education and development, it is important that effective strategies be developed to eliminate this easily treated cause of visual impairment. Most of the refractive errors can usually be corrected with the use of spectacles or contact lenses. School screening programmes have been an established part of the school health service.
With the objective to empower teachers on eye care and identification of children with refractive error, Essar Foundation recently organized training for teachers of Saraswati Sishu Mandir school. Undertaken with the support of health department, Khutar, Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), this training is meant to enable early identification of refractive errors. In the training process, vision screening of five children of Std. 10th was done out of whom two were identified with refractive error in both eyes.
All the teachers were provided with E Vision Charts and formats for recording of errors detected. In the next phase, refractive error check-up camps will be organized for children screened by teachers. This will be followed by counselling of parents for their children’s spectacle use. Eyecare remains one of the key pillars in Essar Foundation’s health initiatives across States.