Nearly 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas, with little access to eye care of any kind. Usually there is no resident eye doctor, and a cataracts patient might travel 150 miles to have surgery. The result is that the incidence of preventable and treatable blindness or low vision is highest among those with the fewest options.
Aravind continues to proactively reach out to the rural community to ensure that quality eye care is accessible to those who need it. As part of Vision2020, an initiative of WHO and IAPB, Aravind committed to build 100 Rural Vision Centers by 2015. Each Rural Vision Center is staffed by a trained ophthalmic technician who provides eye examination and screening for different conditions, dispenses eye glasses, and treats minor ailments and injuries. Via a web cam and broadband Internet connection, patients with potentially serious conditions can be examined by doctors and specialists at Aravind Eye Hospitals.The Rural Vision Centers also perform an important preventive role in the community by raising awareness of eye care, disease, treatment, and rehabilitation services.
Each center costs about $25,000 to establish and operate for the first two years. After two years, the Rural Vision Centers are self-sustaining, primarily from examination fees and sales of spectacles, providing a permanent eye care facility for India’s poorest communities.
To learn more about Aravind’s Community Outreach, click here.
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