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Shillong hosts workshop for Eye Care Educators

For want of a simple pair of glasses, several million people in India are unable to be productive. The issue of preventable blindness is a major problem, with a national loss in productivity running into hundreds of crores of rupees. It is estimated that the North Eastern part of India has a larger percentage of people with preventable blindness compared to the national average. 

The India Vision Institute (IVI) has launched a major initiative in the North- East to assist in development of the necessary human resources to deal with this issue. In this direction, IVI is conducting a capacity building workshop at the Bansara Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences, Shillong from 7-11 March 2013, focusing on a number of specialized areas, including dispensing optics; low vision; binocular vision; and teaching and learning methodology. Over 14 optometry educators representing five colleges from the North East will participate in this program. 

“India Vision Institute is delighted to partner with the Bansara Institute of Ophthalmic Sciences, which has emerged as a hub for optometry training in the North-East” said Mr Vinod Daniel, CEO, IVI. The institute has recently launched a Faculty Support program and is also encouraging optometry educators and practitioners to undertake higher studies through IVI’s Higher Education Scholarship program”, Mr Daniel added. 

Dr. Jennifer Vaid Basaiawmoit, Chief Medical Director of Bansara Eye Care Centre said that the workshop would help to further strengthen the Optometry program at Bansara, catering to the needs of both Megahalaya and the North East region where the lack of trained manpower in eyecare is acute. She expressed interest in continued partnership with IVI in enhancing the capacity of optometry educators in the region. 

The workshop is being led by a team of national and international experts, including Mr Aditya Goyal, Sankara College of Optometry, Bangalore; Ms Mithali Paranjpe, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune; Mr Kunal Shah, EyeSavers Hubli, and Ms Helen Dalton & Ms Jodi Martin, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney. The workshop is supported by the Alcon Foundation, Optometry Giving Sight and Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation. 

While India requires about 115,000 degree trained optometrists to meet the eyecare needs of over 1.22 billion people, currently there is an extensive shortage of both, Optometry schools and educators. IVI endeavours to bridge the gap by enhancing the capacity of the existing cadre as well as by creating a pool of additional trained eyecare educators. 

A joint initiative of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI, Hyderabad) and the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI, Sydney), the Hyderabad-based IVI (www.indiavisioninstitute.org) plays a catalytic role in achieving socially responsible, high quality vision care; excellent vision care education; and international leadership in cutting-edge vision care research and development. 

For further information about the workshop, please contact Ms Jissa James on jissa.james@indiavisioninstitute.org