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Quality eye health research needs to be a priority for India: IVI symposium

An international India Vision Institute (IVI)-led research symposium, RESMEET-21, on Friday called for prioritising the research agenda to provide better access and quality eye care services for the millions of Indians who don’t have access to it currently. Taking stock of the state of eye health research in India, a panel discussion of researchers at the symposium, chaired by IVI’s CEO, Vinod Daniel, noted that India can become a leader in quality eye health research if governments, educational institutions, researchers and industry can make synergised efforts. RESMEET-21 was held in honour of the internationally renowned vision scientist, late Professor Brien Holden. He spent his lifetime and career to inspire scientists and health care professionals around the world. Speakers at the symposium, among others, included Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Chairman, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Professor Serge Resnikov, Conjoint Professor, University of NSW, Sydney, Professor Kovin Naidoo, Senior Vice-President, Social Impact, Africa/Latin America & Advocacy, Essilor International, Professor Jason J Nichols, Vice-President, Research and Professor of School of Optometry, University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), and Dr Ravi Bakaraju, Founder & Chairman, Nthalmic & Associate Professor (Conjoint), University of NSW. The speakers focused on a range of areas including research in ocular disease, evidence-based practice, treatments for dry eye disease, and specialised research on advances in tear film measurement, contact lens technologies and their application for myopia control. Yvonne Holden, Professor Holden’s wife, who opened the symposium with participants drawn from India and around the world, saw the “dream of Brien Holden” being realised and complimented IVI in bringing together a cohort of his research colleagues and associates together. Dr Gullapalli Rao, who gave the keynote talk, recalled the role of Professor Holden in developing vision science research and Optometry globally for the delivery of Vision Care for All. Eye care and vision research luminary Professor Holden founded the Brien Vision Holden Institute (BHVI) and was Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW Australia. IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel said, "Professor Holden's close research associates and colleagues joined us at Resmeet, but it was not only a remembrance of his contributions to science and research. It will also serve to reaffirm the research community’s commitment to continue work for eradicating avoidable blindness." "Professor Holden’s ideals should continue to help drive us all in eye care and vision health with a renewed vigour to greater heights and achievements," he added. Professor Holden, who died at age 73 in July 2015, was the recipient of the Australian government’s civilian award Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and also the World Council of Optometry's Distinguished Service Award. About India Vision Institute India Vision Institute is an Indian not-for-profit nongovernmental organization (NGO) whose activities span the length and breadth of India, including in 20 states of the country. Our Eye See & I Learn and Eye See & I Work campaigns reach constituencies where services are lacking and most required – notably children and adults. IVI has undertaken over 1,100 vision screening programs in and around Chennai and other states in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram, New Delhi, Odisha, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Over 375,000 individuals from the underprivileged communities (including around 300,000 children) have been screened and free spectacles distributed to 65,000 individuals (including 30,000 children). IVI also works to upgrading optometrists’ skills and building capacity and equip optometrists to cope with challenges in their careers. We organise advocacy, talks, education, skill enhancement, and leadership development programs. For information, contact Shekhar Nambiar, +919810154167