The main objective of the project is to provide a long-term sustainable solution for Vision Care along with prescription eyeglasses to people who do not have an access or cannot afford them in selected rural areas of Nepal (rural municipalities of Sindhuli district - Sunkoshi, Golanjor and Phikal). In these areas there are neither vision care specialists nor vision facilities available.
To achieve this objective, we will establish a vision care center and provide vision screening services for villagers along with 4000 free prescription eyeglasses for the needy one. This project is based on an innovative approach of one-size-fits-all adjustable frames and simplified lens concept which good quality, instant delivery of eyeglasses and which is not dependent on the availability of an optometrist.
The project contributes to train 9 health professional along with 30 Female Community Health Volunteers(FCHVs) to provide quality vision care facilities of the people suffering from refractive errors (ability to learn, earn and stay safe) in the selected municipalities.
The project has the potential to be replicated in other municipalities in Nepal.
During our community need assessment we found that more than 90 % of the total populations of the selected rural municipalities have never had their vision screened. Also vision screening camp in the Sindhuli district revealed that 120 out of 182 people had poor vision (April 2021). At the same time it was confirmed that in the selected rural municipalities there was no eye or vision care facility, even though there were health centers.
Several interviewees mentioned that their vision was worsening but they didn't know where to go for an eye check up. And people who got their eyes checked up and needed eyeglasses mentioned that it was very costly and time consuming for them since it required at least five days in Kathmandu or another big city.
During the community needs assessment we found out that the following reasons were behind the lack of vision care facilities in Nepal:
- lack of funds to pay for expensive vision screening, eyeglasses, equipment and optometrists,
- lack of solutions for parts of population living in hardly accessible remote areas for whom traveling to cities is both time consuming and expensive,
- lack of eye care professionals and technicians, incl. optometrists, to prescribe and deliver fitting eyeglasses and
- no solution available for a country like Nepal that would combine sufficiently robust frames and lenses to withstand the daily conditions, a possibility to easily and quickly to replace or fix their eyeglasses and affordable price at the same time.
While discussing the issue with the representatives of the municipalities and FCHVs representatives we found out that both would be interested in participating in solving the problem of the lack of vision care. FCHVs were asking for some sustainable solution that would also include their remuneration in case they were the ones involved in providing access to vision screening and eyeglasses.
Going through the fact Prevent Blindness America (PBA), reports figures that 66 percent of people who are blind or visually impaired are women. Women have more risk factors and thus, higher rates of vision loss than men. To make matters worse, a survey done by PBA revealed that only 9 percent of women realize low vision problem.
The Vision Spring Report of July 24th, 2018, mentioned that A trial of Indian tea pickers has shown that the provision of glasses improved their productivity by 21.7 per cent and for those aged over 50 the increase was 31.6 per cent. This represents the largest ever recorded productivity increase from any health intervention. If the improvement was replicated across India's crop industry it would mean an extra $19 billion in growth from productivity gains alone.
The research conducted by American Academy of Ophthalmology shows that females experience more vision impairment than man and the study on uncorrected refractive error in children published in 2011 ('Refractive error among school children in Jhapa, Nepal' - Journal of Optometry, April 2011). concluded that the prevalence of URE was 8.6% and that myopia (near-sightedness or blurred distance vision, leading to difficulties in reading the blackboard) was the most common problem. So, our main focus of this project is to provide vision for disadvantages women and school children of rural Nepal.
Project fund will be used in following activities:
1. To setup physical vision care center in municipality
2. To purchase eye checkup equipment.
3. To Train 9 health professional along with 30 Female Community Health Volunteers(FCHVs)for
primary vision and eye checkup.
4. To conduct door to door vision camp in rural village for least 35,000 people and provide
at least 4000 prescription eye glasses that consider one-size-fits-all, easily non
breakable adjustable frames and simplified lens concept which good quality, instant
delivery of eyeglasses.