National Programme for Prevention of
The Government of India launched a mass programme for the
prevention of blindness in November, 1976. Under this programme children
between 1-5 years are being given an oral dose of 200,000 i.u. of vitamin A
once in 6 months.
The National Trachoma Control Programme
which was launched in 1963 for the control of blindness due to trachoma has
been integrated with the national programme for prevention of blindness. The
primary health centres, taluka and district hospitals are being strengthened to
provide comprehensive eye health care services.
The ultimate goal of the national
programme was to reduce blindness in the country from 1.4 per cent to 0.3 per
cent by the year 2000 AD.
A National Institute of
Ophthalmology has been created at New Delhi (Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for
Ophthalmic Sciences) to monitor and guide the Programme. To train ophthalmic
assistants, 37 training schools have been established. Each PHC and district
hospital is to be provided with one ophthalmic assistant.
There are approximately 12 million cases of blindness in the
country. It has been estimated that there is an annual incidence of 2 million
cataract induced blindness in India. At the rate of 1.6 million cataract
operations every year we are adding to the backlog.
Since cataract cases constitute about 80 per cent of the
total blindness, targets have been laid down for each state for cataract
operations. To strengthen the programme it was decided to establish District
Blindness Control Societies (DBCS) under the chairmanship of the District
So far 456 DBCSs have been
established. DANIDA had taken up 5 pilot districts for implementation of the
programme through the formatlon of DBCSs. Later on the entire state of
Karnataka was taken up by DANIDA for replication of the model developed in the
The voluntary organizations such as Lions International and
its branches, Rotary International and its branches, NSPB India etc. are
encouraged to organize eye-camps for cataract surgery in remote rural and urban
areas as per guidelines with the permission from the state authorities. They
have been active in providing eye health education, preventive, rehabilitative
and surgical services for control of blindness.