Source: PIB and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI) was launched in the year 1976 as a 100% centrally sponsored scheme (now 60:40 in all states and 90:10 in the NE States) with the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by 2020.
The prevalence rate of blindness and targets
- Prevalence of Blindness – 1.1%. (Survey 2001-02 ).
- Prevalence of Blindness – 1. %. (Survey 2006-07).
- National Blind Survey (2015-18) prevalence of blindness is around 0.45%.
- Prevalence of Blindness target – 0.3% (by the year 2020).
Main Causes of blindness
Cataract (62.6%) Refractive Error (19.70%) Corneal Blindness (0.90%), Glaucoma (5.80%), Surgical Complication (1.20%) Posterior Capsular Opacification (0.90%) Posterior Segment Disorder (4.70%), Others (4.19%) Estimated National Prevalence of Childhood Blindness /Low Vision is 0.80 per thousand.
- To reduce the backlog of avoidable blindness through identification and treatment of curable blind at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, based on the assessment of the overall burden of visual impairment in the country
- Develop and strengthen the strategy of NPCB for “Eye Health for All” and prevention of visual impairment; through the provision of comprehensive universal eye-care services and quality service delivery
- Strengthening and up-gradation of Regional Institutes of Ophthalmology (RIOs) to become the centre of excellence in various sub-specialities of ophthalmology and also other partners like Medical College, District Hospitals, Sub-district Hospitals, Vision Centres, NGO Eye Hospitals
- Strengthening the existing infrastructure facilities and developing additional human resources for providing high-quality comprehensive Eye Care in all Districts of the country
- To enhance community awareness on eye care and lay stress on preventive measures
- Increase and expand research for prevention of blindness and visual impairment
- To secure participation of Voluntary Organizations/Private Practitioners in delivering eye care.
Best practices adopted under the programme:
- To reach every nook and corner of the country to provide eye-care services, provision for setting up Multipurpose District Mobile Ophthalmic Units in the District Hospitals of States/UTs as a new initiative under the programme. Few states have set up these Units. There is a need to replicate the same by other States.
- Provision for distribution of free spectacles to old persons suffering from presbyopia to enable them for undertaking near work as a new initiative under the programme. The activity needs to be expedited in all the States.
- Emphasis on the comprehensive eye-care coverage by covering diseases other than cataract like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, corneal transplantation, vitreoretinal surgery, treatment of childhood blindness including retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) etc. These emerging diseases need immediate attention to eliminate avoidable blindness from the Country
- Strengthening of Tertiary Eye-Care Centres by providing funds for the purchase of sophisticated modern ophthalmic equipment.
- Ensure setting up of super-speciality clinics for all major eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity etc. in state-level hospitals and medical colleges all over the country.
- Linkage of teleophthalmology centres at PHC/Vision centres with super speciality eye hospitals to ensure delivery of best possible diagnosis and treatment for eye diseases, especially in hilly terrains and difficult areas.
- Development of a network of eye banks and eye donation centres linked with medical colleges and RIOs to promote the collection and timely utilization of donated eyes in a transparent manner.