The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today emphasised the need to increase awareness among the people about the importance of eye health and called for media campaigns in local languages involving celebrities and icons from different fields. He said, “the message should go to people that vision impairment is preventable and curable too.”
Virtually inaugurating the Anant Bajaj Retina Institute from Raj Bhawan, Udhagamandalam today, the Vice President also stressed the need to devise a multi-pronged strategy for strengthening preventive and curative eye care across the country, particularly in rural areas. The Institute—a Centre of Excellence for Retinal Diseases, is the outcome of collaboration between L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) and the Bajaj Group.
Recognising that there exists a huge scope to curtail preventable blindness in rural India, Shri Naidu called for equipping the primary health centres in villages with primary eye care facilities.
The Vice President also urged private hospitals to complement the government efforts by opening satellite centres of their facilities in rural areas. “Corporate organisations should prioritise their CSR funds on causes such as these and support hospitals in opening eye-care and screening camps in villages,” he added. Terming community awareness critical in a rural setting, Shri Naidu called for regular awareness programmes at a community level by healthcare institutions and NGOs.
Observing that modern lifestyles and work requirements have increased our average screen time, the Vice President expressed a strong need to regulate the use of electronic gadgets, particularly among children, who run a higher risk of technology addiction. He also highlighted the importance of giving sufficient rest to one’s eyes and taking a healthy diet.
Referring to various studies, Shri Naidu said that retinal diseases are an emerging cause of visual impairment in the developing world. He praised the vision and efforts of the management of LVPEI and the Bajaj Group for this laudable initiative and hoped that the newly inaugurated Anant Bajaj Retina Institute will not only enhance access to high-quality retina care for people, but will also train ophthalmologists and eye care personnel, promote and enhance research capacity and scale up community eye health programmes.
Dr. G N Rao, Founder & Chairman, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Shri Shekar Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director- Bajaj Electricals Limited, Dr. Prashant Garg, Executive Chairman, LVPEI, Dr. Raja Narayanan, Director, Anant Bajaj Retina Institute, Shri Pullela Gopichand, badminton player and Chief National Coach, and other dignitaries were present.
(With Inputs from PIB)