Tribal eye Healthcare : Far from reality 

Bengaluru.  Despite commendable strides in healthcare, there remains a critical concern for the eye health of tribal communities in India. The unique challenges faced by these populations continue to impede access to essential eye care services, creating an insistent need for targeted interventions.

The lack of awareness about eye health within the tribal community is a significant concern, as evidenced by the critical nature of many of the identified disorders. Cultural and linguistic diversity adds complexity to communication efforts, making it essential to design targeted awareness campaigns that are culturally sensitive and linguistically relevant. A comprehensive approach is needed to bridge the information gap and empower tribal populations to prioritize their eye health.

In continuing the pursuit of eliminating avoidable blindness, Sankara Eye Foundation organized a free eye examination for tribal communities across multiple taluks in the rural areas of Karnataka, in Mysuru District. Out of the 1000 tribals’ screened, more than 75% of them were diagnosed with several eye disorders and a majority of them required immediate medical intervention. As an element of its community outreach program, the screening was conducted for individuals aged 40 years and older.

A total of 496 individuals from the tribal community received advanced treatment and care through the Foundation wherein, 66 of them underwent diverse surgical procedures, and 430 individuals were provided with spectacles, all of which was done free of cost.

Ganasekaran C, Unit Head, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore said,” It is concerning to observe the prevalence of numerous eye health disorders among the population. Addressing this issue requires not only calls for medical intervention but also a concerted effort to raise awareness and promote preventive measures to improve overall eye health in these communities.

A significant factor contributing to the problem is the lack of awareness within tribal communities about the importance of regular eye check-ups and early intervention. This knowledge gap results in delayed or neglected eye care, exacerbating avoidable and preventable blindness.

By fostering collaboration and implementing targeted strategies, we can work towards ensuring that no community is left behind in the journey towards comprehensive and accessible healthcare particularly when it comes to eyes. The Foundation will continue its mission in reaching out to more people from this community and providing world-class treatment to the needy.