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Avoidable blindness is just that – a problem affecting many in rural India, but which can be reversed in a matter of life-altering minutes. I’m part-way through this work, looking at those affected by cataracts and conditions leading to poor vision, and ways in which they’re receiving the vital medical care needed to help.
India’s Dr Shroff Charity Eye Hospital operates a network of hospitals and vision centres in towns and villages in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in the capital New Delhi, in an attempt to tackle avoidable blindness.
Offering low-cost or pro-bono treatment for conditions like cataracts and glaucoma, staff travel to remote areas to provide check-ups at field camps, and work in vision centres in towns and villages, referring certain cases to larger hospitals. The Shroff network aims extend access to low-cost, high-quality eye care to those who might not normally be able to access or afford it.
More women than men suffer problems with eyesight, according to staff at the Dr Shroff Charity Eye Hospital, because of the societal roles they take on. Women traditionally spend a greater amount of time working outdoors, exposed to harsh sunlight and UV rays. They often feed male family members and children first, consuming less-nutritious meals after others have eaten, and cook over naked flames where they exposed to smoke from animal dung, leaves or coal used as fuel. Women also earn less, and live in more unhygienic conditions which can lead to infections, while male family members often relocate to towns or cities for work, where conditions and salaries are better.
The images here show how the charity’s work in Rajasthan is reaching village communities, and some of those who have benefitted from the doctors and specialists working in field centres and clinics across the district of Alwar.
To see more of this work, be sure to follow @Vassietrust on Instagram as Rebecca Conway will take over our Instagram 3-9 December.