A group of Optometrists and students from the Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry conducted a vision screening program on 26th May 2013 at Sishu Vihar, a state run orphanage in Hyderabad. A total of 124 children as young as a month’s old baby to 6 years of age were screened.
Of the total number screened, eleven children were identified to have ocular problems and were referred to L.V. Prasad Eye Institute for further management. These children were examined and appropriately treated free of cost. The common eye conditions in these children included refractive errors and strabismus. Besides this, there were children who were anopthahlmic (no eyeballs) or who had multiple disabilities (e.g. cerebral palsy) and were in fact left in the orphanage for such reasons. The LVPEI rehabilitation department is providing training to two such children.
Sishu Vihar's administrative staffs were very supportive and happy to receive the team from LVPEI for the vision screening. They helped in setting up the arrangements for examining the children. Some of the caretakers also asked the team to check their vision, which the team did willingly. Many of the elderly caretakers were recommended refractive and presbyopic corrections.
The kids in the orphanage were extremely happy to see a group of 'new' people visiting them. Usually, young children are not fond of hospitals or health care professionals. On the contrary, many of these children were very disciplined, stood in lines and cooperated well for their eye check-up. The optometrists also enjoyed providing services to the kids, and made the children recite and sing alphabets and rhymes. The children who came for a referral visit were cooperative and did not fuss and cry whilst getting their eye drops or for getting their fundus examined. Prabhakar, a 7 or 8 year old boy who only has one functional eye and is also speech and hearing impaired, was so excited to be checked that he opened his eyes wide with his tiny fingers to help the optometrist do her job!
This screening served as a good opportunity to extend LVPEI’s services to a part of the society that is often much neglected.