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Year : 1988  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 105


Director, Joseph Eye Hospital Trichy, India

Correspondence Address:
J Rajasekharan
Director, Joseph Eye Hospital Trichy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 3235159

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How to cite this article:
Rajasekharan J. Letter. Indian J Ophthalmol 1988;36:105

How to cite this URL:
Rajasekharan J. Letter. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1988 [cited 2021 Jun 17];36:105. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?1988/36/2/105/26151

Eye Camps (Editorial Vol. 35, No 3, 1987)

Dear Editor,

Surgical eye camps, because of the cost effectiveness and the immediacy of their results, undoubtedly, have succeeded in bringing the benefit of cataract surgery to the large number of rural people in India. In 1986, about a million blind people were operated for cataract in village eye camps with a 93 % success- but at what cost ?

Although cataract surgery through village eye camps was practised in some form or other for years, only in the late 60's pioneers in India promoted delivery of eye car( through eye camps. These eye camps were considered as a temporary solution Much discussion and deliberation followed in various national and international forums, realising the deficiency in their delivery system, to improve the quality in such mass treatment projects especially in the areas of output coverage and in the effective use of personnel and equipment and at the same time on long term planning, aiming at permanent and adequate infrastructure.

Large areas of India are still uncovered by regular ophthalmic services and it may not be desirable to think now about total stoppage of surgical eye camps There is no single solution for the delivery of cataract surgery that can be uniformly implemented in India What is considered the operationally optimal approach for one locale may not necessarily be optimal or even workable for another.

The ophthalmic bodies should address to health policy makers, to public health personnel, to voluntary organi­sations to multinational agencies and to foundations and philanthropists for rethinking of strategies and identify areas and problems and appropriate actions

1. In regions where necessary infra-structure for out­reach programme and local surgical facility built-up by the Government and voluntary organizations as found in most of Tamil Nadu, Southern and Central Kerala, State capitals and cities, surgical camps are not only redundant but appear rediculous ! These areas should be identified and such camps are to be banned in these regions

2. Areas where access to surgery is a problem, but minimum level surgical facility is available within the region, emphasis could be on arranging for the transpor­tation of the patients to established centres, such as medical colleges, districts and taluk head quarters hospi­tas nm by non-governmental organizations.

3. In areas were geographic distance and lack of ade­quate transportation and other logical support systems are constraints, patients can be brought to a facility at a fixed location A minimum facility must contain an operating room and the services of one ophthalmic surgeon for the whole post-operative period. This facility can be built exclusively for eye or other surgical camps or as an eye department of a taluk hospital serving a population of 200 to 300 thousand. These surgical eye camps should be governed by guidelines and strictly monitored by the appropriate authority.

Licencing of surgical camps should be approached rather carefully. While on one hand it may impose very severe conditions which will discourage organizations, on the other hand it maybe a mere exercise on paper not guaranteeing excellence in care at the eye camps. One of the insurances will be to involve only those groups that should be made accountable such as Medical Colleges, Government Eye Depaiturents, Ophthalmologists of non-governmental organizations, Ophthalmic associ­ations and societies for prevention of blindness.

Clearly this is a promising area.for introspection and an analysis based on sensitive understanding for better delivery cataract surgery to the rural masses.


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