“Our Eyes are the windows to the world”. Yet, for millions of people in this world these windows open to darkness, or at best shadows. All you have to do is close your eyes for a moment to imagine what it must be like to be blind. No wonder, our ancient sages stated: “Sarvendriyanam Nayanam Pradhanam” - Of all the senses, eyesight is the most important.
It is an unfortunate fact that India is home to one out of every three blind persons on this earth. It is estimated that there are 1.2 million blind people in Telugu States of India alone! TANA Foundation is working with Eye Hospitals in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to attack the problems of cataract related blindness among the elderly and correcting the vision of school age children.
The most common cause of blindness is cataracts. For the poor, a simple cataract surgery to restore eyesight is out of reach in India. Do you know that modern cataract surgery is a procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform and cures the patients of blindness for the rest of their lives? More importantly, you can make it happen for as little as $10.
Another sight related problem is the one where school children are not able to read what is written on the black board because their parents cannot afford to provide them eyeglasses. Globally, 8% of all children need eyeglasses to correct their vision. However, in a typical rural high school in India, not even 1% of the children can be seen wearing glasses. For as little as $4.00, a school child can be examined using modern optometry equipment and provide with high quality eyeglasses.
Through the generosity of donors like you, more than $332,000 has been raised so far to help those in need of eye care in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. We need many more donors like you. So please spread the word among your friends and make them come forward to adopt their own village or a village in need
The Eyesight Project is continuing to make steady progress in both Telugu States. Cataract surgery camps are being conducted on a regular basis. By the end of 2006, we have completed over 600 cataract surgery camps and 47,366 people have recovered their eyesight since the inception of the project in 2002.
We are currently working with nine eye hospitals in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India:
1) R.R. Lions Eye Hospital, Palakol
2) Lions Eye Hospital, Karimnagar
3) Sankara Eye Hospital, Guntur
4) Sankar Foundation Eye Hospital, Vizag
5) Bolineni Eye Hospital, Nellore
6) Lions Eye Hospital, Nandigama
7) Lions Eye Hospital, Dharmavaram
8) Sukhabhogi Seva Samithi, Adilabad
9) Dr. Ranga Reddy Lions Eye Hospital, Secunderabad
The staff of these hospitals are all trained to efficiently screen large number of patients at eye screening camps. The patients who need surgery are then transported by bus or train to the hospital’s modern facilities. Surgeries are conducted on a mass scale by qualified ophthalmologists. Similar efficient techniques are being employed to screen the vision of large number of school children. Those children who need vision correction are provided with eyeglasses. Once again, the efficient methods employed are able to keep costs down to a minimum.
EYE SCREENING CAMPS FOR CATARACT SURGERY:
An eye screening camp is a systematic way of reaching the rural patients who would otherwise not travel to the nearby city for eye care. The eye screening camps are conducted as a partnership between TANA Foundation, the Eye Hospital, and the relatives and friends who live in or near the village where the camp is conducted. The relatives of the donor living in the village take on the responsibility for making the arrangements at the venue of the camp, spreading the word in the surrounding villages and organizing the camp. A team of ophthalmologists, ophthalmic assistants, and camp coordinators from the hospital visits the village where the camp is held.
The sequence of steps it takes to screen, transport, and conduct the surgery are as follows:
1) The patients who come to the camp site are registered
2) The patients are screened to determine their eyesight problem
3) Those found in need of cataract surgery are tested for inter-ocular pressure
4) Patients are then screened for high blood pressure and blood sugar
5) The patients who do not have any health complications and are deemed to be in need of cataract surgery are subjected to a final screening by the ophthalmologist
6) Patients are then transported to the hospital by bus provided by the hospital
7) The patients stay overnight at the hospital and are operated the next day. During the surgical procedure, the clouded lens is removed and a plastic intra-ocular lens is implanted while the patient is under local anesthesia.
8) After staying overnight, the patients are checked to ensure that there are no complications and are then transported back to their village.
The patients are provided with free food and accommodations needed during their short three-day stay at the hospital. The patients are then provided with post-operative medication, and two follow up visits. The first visit takes place after one week, and the second after a month.
The combined cost of the surgery, intra-ocular lens, sunglasses, medication, and transportation adds up to $22/- per surgery. Of this cost $12/- is covered by the Government of India, the TANA Foundation through your donations pays $10/-.
Cataract Surgery Camps have been underway since July 2002. The complete list of camps sponsored and the results are shown elsewhere in this website. The number of patients selected for surgery at a camp varies over a wide range. It is influenced by several factors such as the size of the village, proximity to free eye hospitals, time lapsed since the last camp was held in the village, prosperity of the village, and how well the camp is advertised to the villagers. A donation of $600 will help sponsor a camp at the village of your choice. It could very well be the village you grew up in or you had the opportunity to visit when growing up.
SCREENING OF CHILDREN FOR CORRECTING VISION:
The screening of high school children is done in two phases. Following the initial screening an eye screening camp is held at the school. The hospital staff visits the school and conducts a more detailed examination of those who are found to be in need of vision correction by the school staff. Modern optometric equipment is used to check the vision and arrive at an eyeglass prescription. The cost of conducting the screening and vision testing works out to $1 per student. The cost of a pair of glasses with a durable high quality frame is approximately $3. The program is currently limited to high school students in the 6 th to 10 th grades. In a typical village high school, we expect 50 to 60 students to be in need of glasses. Hence, if you wish to adopt a school all it takes is a donation of $200/-. The school you adopt could very well be the one you studied in!
TANA – VOSH EYE CAMPS :
In October 2005 TANA Foundation took on a very large project jointly with VOSH International (Volunteer Optometrist Services to Humanity) and R.R. Lions Eye Hospital, Palakol. The Lions Eye Hospital organized the eye camps. TANA Foundation covered the cataract surgeries and sixteen VOSH volunteers from the U.S., who traveled to Andhra at their own expense, screened patients and provided free eyeglasses to those in need. A total of six eye camps were held in West Godavari, Krishna, and Guntur Districts in just one week. Given the offer of free eyeglasses, the turnout for these eye camps was extremely high. The organizers had a difficult time managing the crowds. TANA Foundation thanks the VOSH volunteers for their dedication and unquenchable desire to help those in need.
The funds for the eye camps came from: 1) The sale of OPERATION ENVISON T shirts at the TANA Conference in Detroit, 2) Funds ($2,000) raised by TANA Youth, 3) Funds raised at the Chicago Fund Raiser, and 4) GM Foundation. TANA Foundation wishes to thank the Youth Committee of TANA for their very generous charitable donation.
Real Stories affecting the lives of people who underwent Cataract surgery.
Eye camp Sponsorship Form
TANA FOUNDATION EYE CAMP INFORMATION
Thank you for the generous donation you have made towards restoring the eyesight of people living in and around your village. The following will explain to you the manner in which the eye camps are conducted as well as the services included as part of the eye camp. For your benefit we have used a question and answer format to answer some basic questions:
Q: Which eye hospital will be conducting the eye camp at my village?
A: TANA Foundation has been working with several hospitals in Andhra Pradesh and Telangna to conduct the eye camps. The hospitals are:
1) R. R. Lions Eye Hospital – Palakol, W. Godavari Dt.
2) Sankar Foundation – Vishakapatnam
3) Lions Eye Hospital – Karimnagar
4) Sankara Eye Hospital – Pedakakani, Guntur
5) Bolineni Eye Hospital – Nellore
6) RR Lions Eye Hospital – Secunderabad
7) Lions Eye Hospital – Nandigaum, Krishna Dt.
8) Vyasa Asramam, Yerpedu, Chittoor Dt
The hospital used to conduct your camp depends upon the proximity of the hospital to your village as well as the scheduling conflicts at the hospital.
Q: Are cataract surgeries done at the campsite?
A: No. All surgeries are done in modern air-conditioned operation theatres at the hospitals. The work done at the campsite is primarily screening of the patients to determine the need for surgery and testing to ensure the patients have no health complications such as diabetes, Glaucoma, blood pressure, or infections.
Q: What services are included in the Eye camp conducted by TANA Foundation?
A: The $600/- donation you have made covers the following:
- Screening of all patients who come to the camp
- Surgeries for up to 60 patients who need cataract surgeries to restore their eyesight.
- Testing of patients for eyesight and give eyeglass prescriptions.
Q: What happens if more than 60 patients need cataract surgery at my village?
A: The hospital team will not turn away anyone who needs a cataract surgery. TANA Foundation will go ahead and pay the hospital. After the camp is over TANA Foundation will send you a camp report and the cost overruns if any. Please reimburse the cost overruns to TANA Foundation. Each additional cataract
Surgery over and above the 60 surgeries will be requested of you to reimburse at the rate of $10 per surgery. For eg: If the camp was very successful and 100 cataract surgeries were performed we will be requesting $400 from you.
Q: What costs are incurred by the patients who undergo cataract surgery?
A: The cataract surgery is completely free to the patient. The patient is provided the following:
- Free transportation to-and-from the hospital.
- Meals for the days as well as a place to sleep.
- Free medications that are needed during recovery from the surgery.
- It should be noted that the accommodations are basic but hygienic.
Q: Will all those who attend the camp and need eyeglasses be given free eyeglasses?
A: No. The outpatients are given prescriptions for eyeglasses if possible
Q: What spade work needs to be done before the camp can be conducted?
Work with the hospital in selecting a proper venue, such as the local high school, Primary Health Care Center or other convenient place that can handle a crowd of two-to-three hundred people.
- Arrange for a shamiana and chairs in the event the venue does not have a proper shaded area where the patients can wait in the shade.
- Arrange to distribute to the people living in the village and surrounding villages the posters
- and pamphlets provided by the hospital d) Arrange for an auto rickshaw to tour the neighboring villages and announce the date and time of the free camp. (Will typically cost $12/- per day)
- Arrange for lunch on the day of the camp for the team of 15 paramedical staff, camp coordinators, and doctors who will be conducting the camp.
- The total cost of organizing the camp will be a little over Rs. 5000/- to be borne by your local contact.
- If the place to conduct the camp is far from the hospital then overnight accommodations may be required for the hospital staff.
Q: What if I do not want to burden the Local Contact Person with the cost of organizing the camp?
A: Please let TANA Foundation know before and it will arrange for the hospital to hand over the expenses to the Local Contact Person to defray the cost of the eye camp where possible. TANA Foundation would appreciate if you could reimburse the expenses. Not all the hospitals are equipped to do this.
Q: What if I wish to pay for free eyeglasses to all those who attend the camp and are in need of them?
A: Please let us know prior to the camp and we will inform the hospital to provide free eyeglasses. After the camp is over you can donate the appropriate amount to TANA Foundation. Not all hospitals are able to provide this service.
Q: Can I use my funds in India to pay for eyeglasses, camp expenses etc.?
A: Definitely. You can make your own arrangements for paying for the eyeglasses and camp expenses.
Q: How much does the actual surgery cost?
A: Cost of surgery varies from hospital to hospital in India. Charitable Eye Hospitals that we work with get a compensation of Rs.750 from District Blindness Control Society. For the amount of service that needs to be provided to a patient this is not sufficient. So TANA Foundation donates your contribution to strengthen the good work done by the hospitals.
Q: If camp is sponsored in memory of some one, who prepares the banner and display at the camp?
A: We request the hospitals to do this. But some of the hospitals are not equipped to do this and so request your local contacts to put up these.