The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has appealed people to voluntarily pledge eye donation and Media and NGOs should work to motivate the people to do so. He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the 32nd Intraocular Implant and Refractive Surgery Convention 2018, in Chennai today. The Minister for Health, Tamil Nadu, Dr. C. Vijaya Bhaskar, the Minister for Fisheries, Tamil Nadu, Shri D. Jayakumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President asked for the cooperation of the private sectors and NGOs to augment government's efforts to provide comprehensive eye care services to the people. Given the challenges being faced by the eye care sector, the Central Government cannot alone do it and we need to involve the Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies too, he added.Saying that Eyes are the windows to the soul and a good vision is vital to see the world, the Vice President stressed on the need to provide eye care facilities for those who are suffering from vision ailments. He stressed on the need to devise a multi-pronged strategy for strengthening the preventive and curative eye care.The Vice President said that India has made great strides in building reasonably good eye care facilities and developing state-of-the-art diagnostics in the specialised treatment of various kinds of eye ailments. No doubt, today patients have access to quality eye care, but given the sheer size of disease burden, the facilities are still deficient, he added.
The Vice President stressed on the need to encourage people to voluntarily pledge eye donation.The sublime ethos of helping a vision impaired person to gain eyesight through voluntary eye donation must be inculcated among the young children in the schools, he added.The Vice President said that in harvesting the donated eyes, preserving and implanting the same requires quality training of the doctors and other professionals. Mass media can play an important role in popularizing eye donation, he added.The Vice President said that the public sector eye care hospitals must be equipped with latest technologies for quality treatment. Eye care facilities must reach vast sections of people inhabiting the margins of our society in the rural areas at affordable prices as they cannot afford the prohibitive cost of treatment being charged by private eye care hospitals, he added. The Vice President said that excessive exposure of children to video games, mobiles, computers, televisions has been adversely impacting their eye health. He further said that many of our children are suffering from myopia, especially in rural areas. Lack of availability of trained health personnel to meet the growing disease burden of a burgeoning population has been a major issue, he added.Quoting the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), the Vice President said that the services of available Ophthalmic Surgeons in the country are not being adequately utilised. Many ophthalmologists are purely working in administrative jobs and similar proportion is posted at peripheral units with no ophthalmic equipments. This needs to be addressed urgently, he added.