Allie Stryker 2014-04-10 04:57:43
Improving Students’ Sight in India If S. Bhavani sits in the front of the classroom, it’s because he wants to—not because he has no choice. But that wasn’t always the case. A student in Hyderabad, India, Bhavani once had problems seeing the board. He had to squint and got headaches. Bhavani is nearsighted, and his condition could have gone unnoticed if not for the Sight for Kids program. With 12.8 million children visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive error (URE) in Southeast Asia, it isn’t surprising that S. Bhavani was diagnosed with nearsightedness, a form of URE. That is why the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC) partnered to create the Sight for Kids program in 2002. Sight for Kids provides desperately needed eye-health education and school-based vision screenings for underserved children across Asia. The program also provides referrals to professional eye care for eyeglasses and surgery. This is an important service: poor vision can often go unnoticed in children and can impede the ability to read and learn. Bhavani received his vision screening through Sight for Kids and the follow-up care he needed at the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, including free eyeglasses provided through Sight for Kids. Today Bhavani can see the board, reads well and participates in extracurricular activities. “I am so happy and confident. Now with this pair of spectacles, I am able to do all my activities without any difficulty. My thanks to you,” says Bhavani. With his improved vision, Bhavani has great aspirations for his future. “I will become a doctor, helping my parents and society,” he confidently adds. Through Sight for Kids, more than 19 million students like Bhavani throughout Asia have received vision screenings with more than 322,000 treated for vision problems and more than 197,000 provided with eyeglasses. In Kerala, India, Mary Sebastian, an assistant administrator at the Little Flower Hospital and Research Center, has been working closely with Sight for Kids since it launched in her region in 2005. Her hospital’s ophthalmology department is dedicated to protecting children’s vision. It’s immensely gratifying for her to see Lions provide students with eyeglasses and vision-correcting surgery through Sight for Kids. “It is a highly rewarding and satisfying experience to provide vision correction to students whose problems would have remained undetected but for the Sight for Kids program,” says Sebastian. “With Lions clubs, we are visiting unrepresented areas. If not for Sight for Kids, most of the cases would have gone unidentified because of lack of awareness.” Together, Lions clubs, LCIF, JJVC and partner facilities are making a big difference for students in need through Sight for Kids. Learn more online at www.lcif.org/sfk.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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