Naveen S Garewal
Today News Online Service
Hyderabad, May 16
India Vision Institute (IVI) has won the India-Australia Business and Community Awards (IABCA), Community Services Excellence Award (Organisation) for working in the field of vision correction and providing free spectacles to the needy. The Indian NGO has helped the underprivileged in remote areas and villages, benefiting over 400,000 children and adults in 20 states in India.
The Award was announced at the IABCA Gala in Sydney on Saturday with a citation for IVI appreciating its “achievements that have enhanced community spirit through initiatives empowering rural and remote underprivileged communities in India”.
IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel, said, “IVI is delighted to receive the award that is a recognition of our contribution to work in the primary eye care and public health sector in India. We are delighted to receive an award from a platform such as IABCA that is working to help promote the India-Australia relationship and people-to-people links.”
In an interview with The Tribune, Daniel said IVI worked closely with governments in North India, including Uttar Pradesh and the Southern States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Refractive errors among school children and cataracts among the elderly have emerged as a major cause for concern. Studies have shown that poor vision impact incomes and those earning Rs 40,000 to 45,000 could easily earn between Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh if they had normal vision.
As part of a campaign supported by the Fred Hollows Foundation, some 35,000 students were tested in Uttar Pradesh, and about 7 to 8 per cent were found to be needing glasses.
Similarly, a whopping 43 per cent of truck drivers in Tamil Nadu needed glasses, out of which 14 per cent for distance (myopia). The testing also found that 40 out of the 4000 tested truck drivers had a poor vision of over two diopters, which means they should not be driving. Nearly 15,000 drivers could not see road signals, and this he said had a direct correlation with the 1.35 million deaths on the roads.
Giving out details about India, Daniel said the country accounted for about 62 million visually impaired people, and 8 million of them were blind. Around 41 per cent of children in the country (203 million) had an uncorrected vision, around 42 per cent workers (205 million),
Forty-five per cent (38 million) elderly and 42 per cent (7 million) drivers in the country suffered from uncorrected vision.
Vision problems, he said, not only reduce the employee’s performance by 20 per cent but also adversely affect opportunities, job satisfaction, and job security. In a study of working men and women in India, wearing reading glasses were found to increase productivity by 34 per cent and workers income by 20 per cent. Further, poor vision multiplies the risk of falls and hip fractures by seven times in the elderly. Drivers in India with unacceptable vision were found to have an 81 per cent road crash involvement. 1,51,417 lakh people died, and 4,67,944 million were injured in road traffic accidents in India.
Daniel said, “The Award will encourage us to work even more with our vision to Augment the Primary Eye Care Capacity of India and help children do well in their studies and adults work better and be more productive,”
Established in 2014, IABCA has accomplished significant growth on an annual basis and now stands as a flagship event in the Australian events calendar.
The IABCA platform attracts over 300 nominations from organisations, social enterprises, and business leaders from across the globe who are advancing the India-Australia relationship.