There is a lack of adequate data on the true extent of visual impairment and blindness in Bangladesh. A growing consensus suggests that an overwhelming proportion of blindness and visual impairment amongst people of all ages are caused by refractive errors and cataracts – both of which can be prevented at very low costs with early intervention. To address visual impairments early, our eye care interventions increase demand and accessibility to vision services.
As with most of our interventions, community members are counselled individually and in groups on identifying visual impairments within their family members. The detection of visual impairments is conducted by our CHWs during their door-to-door visits. Through patients’ self-reporting or through the CHWs’ detection, people with visual impairments are referred to BRAC Vision Centres or the nearest appropriate government facility. The Vision Centres provide reading glasses at very affordable rates to those with refractive errors, which enables them to continue their livelihoods without interruption and prevents further impairment.
During the last year, we have helped 39,957 individuals with visual impairments. Going forward, we aim to make these services more mainstream, geographically accessible and cost effective.