Dear Vision-Aid family,
As summer closes and we enter the Fall, our team is also completing another quarterly review cycle. Through this email, we wish to share with you a report summarizing highlights from some of our programs across India in the second quarter of 2023. We sincerely thank you for your support for these programs that enable, educate and empower the visually impaired to live with independence and dignity.
During the past quarter, all of our Vision-Aid resource centers have been relentlessly offering services to the visually impaired, and from April to June 2023, Vision-Aid programs had the opportunity to serve 4519 visually impaired children and adults across 30 locations in India. (~20,000 annually)
Vision-Aid @ Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai
- The Aravind Eye care system is the largest eye care system in the world. The Vision-Aid National Resource Centre is housed in the main campus of Aravind in Madurai but serves thousands across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and many other parts of India who travel for treatments to Aravind.
- A very significant new milestone of the quarter is the addition of three new Aravind eye care system hospitals to our network– Pondicherry, Tirunelveli, and Tirupati.
- During the past quarter, 1900 beneficiaries received over 2100 sessions of programs that includes comprehensive low vision assessments, counseling sessions, orientation and mobility training, sessions of early intervention, visual skills training, mobile technology training sessions, assistive aids and devices, and computer training sessions.
- The Vision-Aid resource center now also supports training of professionals on the challenges they face in providing care to children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). The team also continues to offer support for CVI through tele – rehabilitation.
- Dr. Sahithya, who oversees the Vision-Aid center at Aravind, completed her observership at Mass Eye and Ear Hospital in Boston and Perkins School for the Blind. She got the opportunity to meet with the low-vision team and learn their perspectives. She shared Aravind’s current CVI protocol (Functional vision assessment) with the Perkins team and gained knowledge on CVI teaching materials which she plans to implement in our center. During her Boston visit, she had the opportunity to participate in our “fun raiser” in Lexington Naatu Naatu and meet with our team here – which was really great.
- Dr. Sahithya was invited to join as a faculty in the All India Ophthalmological Society Conference in Kochi in May 2023 and now uses this platform to spread know-how to many other vision professionals.
Vision-Aid @ LVPEI Hyderabad (The Vasantha-Krupasagar Palakurthi Vision-Aid Center)
- LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), renowned for its global reputation of excellence and recipient of numerous national and international awards, is a leader in the field. In the area of rehabilitation, the center provides job-ready training programs for individuals with vision impairment, offers professional development in low-vision care and rehabilitation, and facilitates the distribution of state-of-the-art assistive devices. Additionally, it engages in collaborative research activities within the field of low vision, partnering with Vision Aid to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation
- In collaboration with Vision-Aid, the Contrast sensitivity research project is advancing rapidly. So far, 2230 children were recruited for the study. The data has undergone interim analysis, and the outcomes of this research were presented by Dr. Jayaraman at Vision 2023 in Denver. Her presentation of the papers was well received by the conference attendees.
- Several Training batches of Python programming for visually impaired students continued.
- The previous batches of the residential program of the LVPEI campus at Vijayawada have received certificates and this program is continuing successfully for the next batches.
- Thanks to the Professional training team at LVPEI which also helps to train our Optometrists and SMEs from all other Vision-Aid centers across India. This professional training will turn help in the successful implementation of the program at newly added resource centers.
- A major new development which will be announced soon is the launch of a new center in Vizag – the Palakurthi Vision-Aid center for CVI, will offer a wide range of CVI services and professional training which is expected to have an all-India impact. More details on this exciting new project to be announced soon – please stay tuned!
Vision-Aid @ Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, Delhi (The Lachhman Dass Gupta Vision-Aid center)
- A total of more than 700 sessions were conducted as part of various programs, benefitting 530 visually beneficiaries from under-privileged backgrounds. The interventions included comprehensive low vision assessments, counseling sessions, orientation and mobility training, mobile technology training sessions, assistive aids and devices, and computer training sessions.
- An Alumni Meet was organized, bringing together former visually impaired students from Lachhman Dass Gupta Vision Aid Resource Center. This event took place on the 24th of June.
- Another highlighted activity was the organization of screening camps that benefitted more than 66 individuals from underserved regions of Panipat, Haryana in collaboration with Project Prakash at the government institute for the blind on 9th May 2023
Vision-Aid Resource Center @ Sankara Nethralaya Chennai Kamala-Thiruvengada Chari Vision-Aid Center)
- Sankara Nethralaya is a pivotal partner of Vision-Aid and to add to their existing accolades, was recently voted as the recipient of the “Single Speciality of the Year” award at the 13th India Healthcare Awards of 2023.
- This center has a special focus on visually impaired children and infants.
- Beneficiaries of Vision-Aid include infants, young children, and MDVI children who receive visual developmental therapy, sensory integration, fine motor development, eye-hand coordination, behavior management, remedial education, and referral services for additional interventions like physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. In the past quarter, the resource center offered a total of over 500 sessions to nearly 275 under-privileged individuals who had low vision, total blindness, and children with multiple disabilities from various locations
- Additionally, the resource center offered services to nearly 420 sessions to over 280 beneficiaries at the Vision Enhancement Center.
- Many individuals got benefitted from the portable video magnifier of Vision-Aid.
- The team is happy to share a story of a 4-year-old baby with Microcephaly and squint. Microcephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected for its age and body size. This can associated with developmental issues and intellectual disabilities. The baby made substantial progress after management, successfully engaging in concept-teaching activities, recognizing shapes, colors, and sizes, and even showing improvement in eye contact after the management was done in the resource center. Occupational therapy led to advancements in pre-writing skills and coloring activities.
Vision-Aid Resource Center @ Sankara Nethralaya Kolkatta (The Amiya Kumar Ghosh Vision-Aid Center)
- This newly added center offered a total of over 450 sessions for 450 beneficiaries which include beneficiaries of underprivileged backgrounds. This includes infants, young children, and adults who have received services for Vision rehabilitation and vision enhancement
- The team has commenced screening at special schools this quarter
- The team gladly shares the tale of a resilient 13-year-old boy who tackled challenges from cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and developmental delay. Concerned about his eye movement after TV, his parents brought him to our hospital. Following a neuro-ophthalmology checkup, he was referred to our specialized resource centre with a committed team focused on visual stimulation, eye-hand coordination, and behavioral therapy. The parents learned home exercises inspired by the centre’s guidance. After counseling and initial sessions, they left with renewed hope.
Vision-Aid @ The Voluntary Health Services Hospital Chennai (The Srinivasan-Sundara Vision-Aid center)
- Few of the highlighted activities in this quarter are the screening camps of the Gnanadharshan seva foundation on the 23rd of April 2023 where 26 persons benefitted from assistive devices like Smart vision glasses and smartphones jointly provided by Visoin-Aid and the Lions Blind Foundation on the 11th of May 2023
- Smart vision glasses were donated to 10 beneficiaries made possible by the generous donation of Mr. K.Venkatramani and family (Manavaseva trust)
- The center provides a range of interventions to beneficiaries hailing from underprivileged communities in Chennai and its vicinity. These interventions encompass comprehensive low-vision assessments, the provision of assistive devices and aids, educational and counseling sessions, as well as specialized training on the utilization of assistive devices, computer technology, mobile technology, etc
Vision-Aid @ CECF, Pune (The Dr. R.S. Ayyar Vision-Aid center)
- The center-based and community outreach activities of the CECF Vision-Aid resource center continued in the past quarter and the aim was to reach out to the underserved regions in and around Western Maharashtra. In addition to offering services to the beneficiaries, advocacy and low-vision awareness campaigns in colleges of Optometry are highlighted activities of the quarter.
- On 6th April, a video magnifier distribution initiative took place, resulting in 8 beneficiaries receiving video magnifiers, along with the distribution of 10 monocular telescopes.
- A comprehensive LVA (Low Vision Aid) distribution event was held at Khondwa on 30th May 2023. A thorough assessment and examination were conducted for the blind school at Kondawa. As part of this assessment, 8 video magnifiers were provided to the students. Additionally, a functional vision assessment was performed, and compliance was checked using the LVA Questionnaire for a total of 9 students.
- On 25th June 2023, a training session was conducted at the Clinic, where 4 new interns and optometrists from Bharati Vidyapeeth School of Optometry received training in the field of Low Vision and Rehabilitation.
Training, Assistive Devices, Perkins Project IDI, and Blind Schools Programs across India
- In Agra, Project IDI continued in partnership with Perkins School for the Blind. A total of 328 children with severe disabilities and visual impairment were screened and managed with counseling and rehabilitation services including nearly 170 center-based therapies and over 650 home-based screenings and therapies for those who are unable to visit the center for therapy.
- Project Spring Board touched 20 Blind schools – in addition to offering assistive devices and aids which include RLF tactile braille books, smartphones, etc, several new initiatives like training in personal grooming/life skills, social skills, and advanced training programs help in providing holistic education for nearly 50 individuals this quarter.
- A rollout of Smart Vision Glasses to over 200 blind youth has commenced in partnership with Help the Blind Foundation in India. In this Q2 quarter, 115 Smart Vision Glasses were distributed to the underprivileged visually impaired, allowing them to use this AI-powered technology to gain more independence.
- Our DAT center which employs blind youth delivered two successful projects to US clients in the quarter.
None of this would be possible without the loving village of supporters and team members in Vision-Aid. Our 100% all-volunteer team in the US, allows us to run Vision-Aid USA with near-zero overheads. Our dedicated team members in India, our partners, perform their work with utmost dedication and efficiency.
Thank you all for being part of this Vision-Aid family, and helping us scale new heights each quarter and each year! We have come a long way since our early days of 1 center and ~100 beneficiaries, and this growth is a testament to the combined goodwill and contributions of so many like-minded persons like you!
The Vision-Aid Team