There is a lack of adequate data on the true extent of visual impairments 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, BRAC’s eye care interventions improve the demand for and accessibility to vision services.
As with most of the interventions, community members are counselled individually and in groups on identifying visual impairments. The detection of visual impairments is conducted by community health workers during home visits. Through self-reporting or detection by health workers, people with visual impairments are referred to BRAC Vision Centres or the nearest appropriate government facility. At the vision centres, those with refractive errors can access reading glasses at affordable rates, preventing further impairment and enabling them to continue their livelihoods without interruption.
During the last year, 39,957 individuals with visual impairments were supported by this process. BRAC is working to make these services more mainstream, geographically accessible and cost effective.