TNOA Journal of Ophthalmic Science and Research

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2018  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 222--225

Perspective about blindness and vision 2020-national program for control of blindness among students of different disciplines and general population


Annamalai Sowmiya1, Sankar Muthuramalingam2, Krishnamoorthy Ilango2,  
1 MBBS (CRRI), Velammal Medical College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Velammal Medical College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sankar Muthuramalingam
Department of Ophthalmology, Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
India

Abstract

Objectives: To study the awareness about causes of blindness, Eye donation, NPCB and Vision 2020 among students of Medical, Paramedical, Engineering College and General Public in a semi-urban centre. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted at the Velammal Medical College Hospital in 4 months duration, which recruited around 2000 individuals from general public, students from various disciplines. A semi structured Questionnaire was presented and responses were recorded. They were analysed statistically. Results: Almost half of the respondents were not aware about existence of NPCB programme and awareness about existence of programme is high among Nursing Students (96.92%). Awareness about causes of blindness is significantly higher among Medical students (99.23%).Awareness about eye donation is only about 74.5%. Awareness about various aspects of Childhood eye diseases is about 70-80%. Conclusion: There is an improper utilisation of NPCB programme services due to lack of awareness about the same. Some of the strategies that the students were willing to participate were widespread awareness programmes in media and outreach programmes at gross root level. So we should utilise the resources and potential of student community in educating the public.



How to cite this article:
Sowmiya A, Muthuramalingam S, Ilango K. Perspective about blindness and vision 2020-national program for control of blindness among students of different disciplines and general population.TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res 2018;56:222-225


How to cite this URL:
Sowmiya A, Muthuramalingam S, Ilango K. Perspective about blindness and vision 2020-national program for control of blindness among students of different disciplines and general population. TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 May 23 ];56:222-225
Available from: http://www.tnoajosr.com/text.asp?2018/56/4/222/252494


Full Text



 Introduction



VISION 2020: The Right to Sight global initiative[1] was launched in 1999 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Its main aim[1] was eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and in doing so, preventing an estimated 100 million people from going blind.[2]

National Program for Control of Blindness and visual impairment (NPCB) was launched in the year 1976 as a 100% centrally sponsored scheme (now 60:40 in all states and 90:10 in NE States) with the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by 2020. Rapid Survey on Avoidable Blindness conducted under NPCB during 2006–2007 showed reduction in the prevalence of blindness from 1.1% (2001–2002) to 1% (2006–2007).

Globally, 5 million are blind and one-fourth of them are in India.[3] Recent data from the WHO shows that there is 25% decrease in blindness prevalence in India. However, if we are to achieve the goal of vision 2020, we require a considerable scaling up of current efforts. This will depend on two key areas namely:

Successful advocacy and engagement at an individual country level to secure significantly enhanced government commitment to financing their own Vision 2020 plansA new approach to vision 2020 that integrates eye health into health system development.

This study aims to evaluate the awareness among various sections of people, both general public and various student population about the initiative to eradicate blindness as well as utilize them to educate the general population about the VISION 2020 and NPCB initiative.

Aim and objective

To study the awareness about causes of blindness and awareness about eye diseases among students and general public in semi-urban setupTo study the awareness about NPCB and Vision 2020 among medical and paramedical students.

 Materials and Methods



A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at the Velammal Medical College Hospital from September 2016 to December 2016. This study was approved by the Ethical Clearance Committee of Institution (VMCIEC/43/2016). First- and third-year MBBS students, Paramedical students of VMCH, Nursing Students of VMCH, and first-year engineering students of Velammal Engineering College, Sivagangai and also general public attending the General Outpatient Department of VMCH are enrolled after taking informed written consent for willingness to participate from each of the participants. The sample size was proposed to be around 2000 study participants. A semi-structured questionnaire was presented and responses were recorded. The collected data were analyzed and statistical calculations were performed wherever necessary. Data were compiled in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences(SPSS) Software version 20.0.

 Results



There were a total of 1923 study participants of which 836 were male and 1087 were female. Student population represented 48.5% of the participants. There was almost 50% nil response for many questions due to lack of awareness in both groups. [Table 1] shows gender distribution in participants.{Table 1}

Half of the respondents were aware of the existence and implementation of NPCB-Vision 2020. The awareness about existence of this program is significantly high among third-year medical students (95.71%) and nursing students (96.92%).

About 58.5% of participants also realized that majority of blind people lived in South Asia.

Almost 23% of the study population thinks that creating awareness by any modes of communication helps to achieve aims and goals of NPCB program. [Table 2] shows the percentage of awareness about different causes of blinding eye diseases.{Table 2}

Awareness about causes of blindness is significantly higher among medical students (99.23%).

Moreover, there was no single major cause attributed to blindness as the participants as participants have given equal responses for diabetic retinopathy, refractive erors, cataract. glaucoma, according to the participants were less significant cause. Nearly 54% of the respondents were aware that intraocular lens (IOL) surgery is the best treatment available for cataract at present and 25% still believed removal of cataract alone will do. [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5] depict awareness about childhood eye diseases, eye donation, and comparison with other studies, respectively.{Table 3}{Table 4}{Table 5}

[Figure 1] depicts a comparison of reasons for donating eyes between general public and students. [Figure 2] depicts a comparison of reasons for not donating eyes between general public and students. [Figure 3] depicts a comparison of reasons for donating eyes between medical and paramedical students.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}

 Discussion



VISION 2020: The Right to Sight global initiative[1] was launched in 1999 by the WHO and IAPB. Its main aim[1] was eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and in doing so, preventing an estimated 100 million people from going blind. An estimated 253 million people live with vision impairment: 36 million are blind and 217 million have moderate-to-severe vision impairment.[8]

Almost 81% of people who are blind or have moderate or severe vision impairment are aged 50 years and above.[8] Globally, chronic eye diseases are the main cause of vision loss. Uncorrected refractive errors and then unoperated cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. Unoperated cataract remains the leading cause of blindness in low- and middle-income countries. The prevalence of infectious eye diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis, has reduced significantly over the last 25 years. Over 80% of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured.[9]

Total study population were 1923 and it includes general public, medical and paramedical students, nursing students, and engineering students. This study was conducted over a period of 6 months as a cross-sectional descriptive study. Many similar studies have been conducted in the past about eye donation. However, this study focuses on awareness about NPCB program and some aspects of eye donation.

Awareness about lazy eyes (35.4%) is very less both in general public and student community which needs more work-up.

About 54% of the respondents were aware that IOL surgery is the best treatment available for cataract at present and 25% still believed removal of cataract alone will do. This signifies that more health education regarding available treatment modalities for cataract should be emphasized to the patients.

In addition to cataract, this study also tried to explore the awareness about childhood diseases among the study population. With regard to this, almost results were quite good except about congenital cataract.

The awareness about eye donation is 74.5% since this study covers semi-urban population. Hence, more awareness has to be creating among them.

The relationship with socioeconomic status and their awareness status could not be evaluated, which has to be covered in future studies.

The level of knowledge and attitude of medical students are important determinants in promoting awareness about existence of NPCB program and eye donations as they are the future potential doctors. It is a matter of fact that health in a community or a society will surely improve when doctors play an active role in health education and become a good role model in the society. Hence, medical and paramedical students should actively involve in health education about this program and eye donation.

 Conclusion



Although awareness about blinding eye diseases and availability of National Program for Control, there is an improper utilization of the same. This hinders the efforts of NPCB and Vision 2020 initiative in achieving its target of reducing blindness. Some of the strategies that students were willing to participate are widespread awareness programs in media and outreach programs at gross root level. Hence, we should utilize the resources and potential of student community in educating the public about this program and accessibility of its services.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

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