Prevention of Blindness Week 2023
The first week of April is special, from April 1 to April 7 is the time to come together for a special cause. While for a moment we might take this beautiful world for granted, maybe this colorful world is normalized for us, or in daily life’s hustle and bustle we might have forgotten to appreciate the natural beauty around us. But not all amongst us are that fortunate, as per World Health Organisation there are around 40 million people in this world who are blind. India is home to one of the largest numbers of visually impaired persons. Equally important is to note that the majority of such cases are preventable and are not always related to genetics. As per the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey, poor nutrition continues to be the leading cause of Blindness and other vision impairment issues. Prevention of Blindness Week 2023 is a small effort by the Government of India to generate awareness and mainstream the need for proper nutrition, care, and support.
Prevention of Blindness Week 2023 History
The first Prevention of Blindness Week was organized by the First Health Minister Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1960. They also established the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness in 1960 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness is a voluntary organization working to prevent blindness by collaborating with other organizations like Sight Savers, Rotary International, etc; generating awareness, and ensuring effective treatment and timely diagnosis are other major areas of work.
Government of India also started the National Programme for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment (NPCBVI) in the year 1976 as a 100% Centrally Sponsored scheme with the goal to reduce the prevalence of blindness from 1.4% to 0.3%.
Prevention of Blindness Week 2023 Some Important Facts
- As per data, India has the largest number of blind people in the world. One out of every three people in India is blind.
- Over 15 million people are blind in India and the number is as high as 37 million in the world (2007 records).
- The major causes of blindness include malnutrition, trachoma & cataract among others.
- The leading cause of blindness in children is the deficiency of Vitamin A.
- The most common cause of blindness in India is cataracts.
- In absolute terms, more than two-thirds of blind persons are in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Women’s chances of developing cataracts — a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye — are 69 percent more than their male counterparts.
- Causes of blindness and visual impairment ( for age ≥ 50 years)
- Cataract was the principal cause of blindness (66.2%), severe visual impairment (80.7%), and moderate visual impairment (70.2%)
- The other important causes of blindness were corneal opacity (7.4%), cataract surgical complications (7.2%), posterior segment disorders excluding DR and ARMD (5.9%) and glaucoma (5.5%).
- Principal causes of severe visual impairment other than cataracts were cataract surgical complications (8.3%) and other posterior segment diseases excluding DR and ARMD (3.4%).
- For early visual impairment, the most important cause was a refractive error (70.6%).
- Most of the blindness and visual impairment was due to avoidable causes (92.9% and 96.2% respectively). Among avoidable causes, treatable causes of blindness are 68.1%.
Prevention of Blindness Week 2023 Notable Initiative
Rajasthan is the First State in the Country to Implement the Policy for the Control of Blindness. As per data prevalence rate of blindness in the country was 1.1 percent in the year 2020. The target is to achieve 0.3 percent through the ‘Right to Sight Vision’ policy.
Right to Sight Vision’ policy Rajasthan has been brought with an aim to bring light in the lives of more than 3 lakh people suffering from visual impairment in the State.
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