‘Vision 2020’ is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) for the elimination of preventable blindness by 2020. Dialog Foundation signed up for the “V2020 initiative” in 2015 where people from low-income communities are screened and provided with custom made spectacles which are free of charge. This initiative is supported by the Dialog regional sales teams in each respective region and organized by Dialog Foundation where a team of certified optometrists conduct comprehensive screenings, following which, prescriptions are collected by the Dialog Team. Based on these prescriptions, Vision 2020 partner opticians prepare spectacles, which are then distributed among the beneficiaries at a separate distribution event.
As such, the 24th eye camp was held at Meegasara in the Hambanthota district of the Southern Province in Sri Lanka. Meegasara was selected as the venue for the eye camp to reach out to the untreated low-income farming communities around that area with limited access to eye clinics and resources. At this eye camps patients with cataracts and other severe eye diseases were identified and were referred to the nearby base hospital. Furthermore, the magnitude of the severity of the eye problems in areas like this are left unidentified.
The eye camp at Meegasara took place on the 27th and 28th of July 2019 by the Dialog team at the Kaluarachchi building, Meegasara. The total number of patients screened at Meegasara were 902, out of which 685 patients were provided with customized spectacles and 102 patients were diagnosed with Cataract.
The screening process at the eye camp was carried out in a step by step manner;
Step 01: Registration
Volunteers from the Dialog Foundation were seated at the entrance of the eye camp recording basic information such as the patient’s name, NIC number, address and the phone number of the patient.
Step 02: Visual Acuity Test
All patients were then directed from the registration to measure for visual acuity in both eyes by the optometrist with the aid of a Snellen’s chart. A distance of six meters is maintained between the patient and the chart. The degree of visual acuity was then recorded in the patient case sheet/prescription.
Step 03: Examination
After the visual acuity test was conducted further examination was conducted for each patient individually by the optometrist. The optometrist then concluded if spectacles were necessary for the respective patient or not. Patients with cataract were also identified followed by relevant advices and guidance to visit the nearby base hospital.
Step 04: Collection of prescriptions/case sheets
As the final step the prescriptions/case sheets of the patients were collected by Dialog Foundation volunteers in order to make customized spectacles in accordance with the patient’s case sheet.
After the screening of patients, the prescriptions were sent to V2020 partner opticians to prepare spectacles. It took nearly two months for preparation of all the spectacles. The distribution event was organized immediately after the spectacles were made. The distribution of spectacles was held on the 12th and 13th of October 2019 respectively at the Kaluarachchi building in Meegasara. Furthermore, patient testimonials of people who received the spectacles were recorded as an evidence to prove the effectiveness of the eye camp.