On 23rd March 2018, School of Medical Sciences (SMSc.) at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), celebrated world optometry day. On this occasion, SMSc. organised a Blindfold Walk, Vision Screening programme, half a-day Scientific Program, Inter-school quiz & Debate competitions at Savitribhai Phule (formerly DST) auditorium on the campus.

To create awareness on the visual impairment and uncorrected refractive errors, Optometry faculty along with students organised a blindfold walk. Prof. Geeta K Vemuganti flagged off the walk from the School of Life Sciences to south Shopcom, after addressing the gathering emphasizing on the needs of visually challenged people. The walk was aimed for the visually-abled personnel so that they could experience how other senses of a visually impaired person aid them to sense their surroundings. About eighty students from School of Medical Sciences as well as other schools and centres participated in the walk guided by volunteers from the School. After the walk some of them shared their experience of ‘darkness”, “being dependant on others” and and how it influenced their feelings and perceptions of visually impaired persons. This was followed by a A vision screening program for the University fraternity wherein 85 participants were provided with free eye screening by the students and faculty. The highlight of this exercise was about 32 individuals required further workup and referral to UoH’s eye Clinic for further management, thus emphasizing the need for such screening procedures.

In the afternoon A scientific session on “Current perspectives & updates of Optometry” was organised. Faculty, students and interns from Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Centre of Sight, Pushpagiri Vitreo Retina Institute and Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital participated in the scientific programme. Prof. Geeta K Vemuganti gave a welcome address highlighting the need for optometrists in the country and sharing the success of the optometry course at UoH, the first initiative taken by any Central university in the country. Dr. Motilal Naik​, Joint Director, National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), Telangana, talked about the NPCB initiatives and impact of eye screening programs in the state of Telangana. Dr. Naik shared about the plans of Telangana government in reducing the prevalence of blindness from 1.4 to 0.3% by the year 2024 through various measures like providing cataract surgeries, refractive error correction, spectacle distribution, and early detection of other diseases.

Participants enjoyed the panel discussion on Current perspectives & updates of Optometry wherein Prof. Geeta K Vemuganti​, University of Hyderabad Dr. Motilal Naik​, JD, NPCB, Dr. Shrikant R Bharadwaj​, Director – Brien Holden Institute of Optometry and Vision Sciences, L V Prasad Eye Institute Dr Rishi Bhardwaj​, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad, Mr Vijay Kiran​, Head- Academics, Pushpagiri Vitreo Retina Institute and Ms Lakshmi Shinde​, CEO, Optometry Council of India offered their views on various challenges faced by these professions in our country. The discussion was amicably moderated by Prof. B R Shamanna from University of Hyderabad. The Panel discussions reiterated the need for evidence based practice in optometry teaching, importance of industry-academia partnership, building human resource of eye care personal, industry-ready student population and good team work so that eye care becomes an integral part of the health system. Experts also emphasize the need to expand the scope of optometry practice to the next level by incorporating state of art diagnostics, specialities such as Low vision, contact lenses and Vision Therapy etc. Ms Lakshmi Shinde​, CEO, Optometry Council of India (OCI) updated the audience on efforts made by OCI to raise the awareness of optometry profession, specially the education standards. Prof. Geeta K Vemuganti thanked the experts presented a token of appreciation to all the panelists.

An interesting and thought provoking debate was held on Current perspectives on online vs. offline business in eyecare between Dr. Kuldeep Raizada​, Director International Prosthetic Eye Centre, Mr Y Vijay Kumar, Registrar, Bausch and Lomb school of optometry, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Mr Sunny Mannava, Program Officer India, Operation Eyesight Universal, MR. Saif Ahmed, Regional Training Manager, Lenskart Company. Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra​, from the School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad moderated the session. During the debate the members spoke about the current offline sales in eye care and shared about the challenges of online sales In India, cost management, anecdotes about the lens selection in online sales, way of frame selection in online sales, and dispatching.

A total of 5 teams from School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Bausch & Lomb School of optometry, L V Prasad Eye Institute and interns from Centre for Sight participated in Inter-school quiz competition, moderated by Dr. P S Roopa Reddy​, Ms. Deepom John​, from University of Hyderabad. Students from Bausch and Lomb School of Optometry bagged the 1st prize whereas UoH students secured the runners position. An open debate on student’s performance, attendance and exams was conducted & moderated by Mr Vijay Kiran and, Mr Y Vijay Kumar. Students from different Schools proactively participated in the debate and shared their views and opinions.

Dr. Nagaraju Konda proposed the vote of thanks.

The School of Medical Science acknowledges the support from KSR eyecare Pvt. Ltd., Essilor India Pvt. Ltd., Lenskart and Akriti Logistics in the successful conduct of the events on World Optometry Day.