In late-2016, Combat Blindness International Board Member Dr. Luxme Hariharan visited the Usha Kiran Eye Hospital in Mysore, India. As a part of the CBI International Pediatric Program, the Usha Kiran Eye Hospital screens approximately 65,000 children annually.
Dr. Hariharan, or Lux (as she prefers to be called), is a pediatric ophthalmologist, and visited to evaluate their methods and assist at the hospital. While there, she was extremely impressed by the efficiency and accuracy of the school screening system operated by Usha Kiran.
The team at Usha Kiran is also skilled at communicating with the schools and identifying children who may need glasses. According to Dr. Hariharan, “All the teachers and principals were involved and gave insights into which kids were doing well in school and which seemed to be having some difficulty, specifically when sitting in the back of the classroom.” This communication is key to ensuring that children get the help they need and is important in all school screening programs.
In a given visit, the team at Usha Kiran can screen between 750-1,000 children at a school with just 3-5 people. When vision problems are detected in initial screening, children are then sent to team’s trained optometrist on site to get their prescription. Approximately 4-5% of these students require glasses, which are provided by a local manufacturer within 1-2 weeks of diagnosis. If a child suffers from a more serious condition, they are referred to the Usha Kiran clinic for further care.
The Usha Kiran Eye Hospital was founded in 1998 by CBI’s close friend Dr. Ravishankar. Our partnership began in 2008. Dr. Ravishankar and his wife, Dr. Uma, are the hospital’s sole doctors.
What stuck with Dr. Hariharan from the experience was simply the children themselves, “I was most impressed by how loving, excited, and appreciative these children were to get their eyes tested and to get glasses. One child held her eye glass prescription up with a huge smile saying, ‘Now I can finally see in class,'”
We would like to thank Lux and the rest of the CBI family for their support in transforming these children’s education and future.
“I was truly touched by their innocence, hope, and sense of gratitude. They are the reason we at CBI do what we do every day, even to just help one child– it is worth every second and every dollar.” – Dr. Luxme Hariharan