World Sight Day is an International Day of Awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October. As healthcare providers, it is important for all optometrists to bring awareness on eye care and preventable blindness to protect eyes, and keep them healthy. This year World Sight Day was on the 13th of October 2022 with the theme of “Love your Eyes”. The School organized a half-day program to raise awareness of vision and the importance of sight.

On this World Sight Day, the School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH), organised a World Sight Day 2022 (WSD2022) including an inaugural session, brief address by a visually challenged student, and panel discussion, followed by a blindfold walk. A total of 150 UG, PG, and Ph.D. Optometry students from UoH and GITAM University participated in the event.  The event was graced by Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Prof. BJ Rao, University of Hyderabad, Sri Govinda Hari, Chairman, Pushpagiri Vitro Retinal Institute, Chain Hospitals, Prof. Geeta K Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, and Prof. Vijay Kumar Kutala  Chairman, Allied and Health professionals council, Telangana State.

At the inaugural session, Prof Vemuganti welcomed the gathering and highlighted the importance of taking care of vision and eyesight. She highlighted that UoH Is the only central government institute in the Country which has all the 3 programs related to Optometry i.e. Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. programs. She also emphasised that the Allied and Health Professional (AHP) Council and New Educational Policy (NEP) provide us with a unique opportunity to strengthen the optometry programs, and enhance research and  human resource so as to contribute to national goals and SDG. An inspiring and thought-provoking speech was given by Mr. Tejas, a Visually Challenged post-graduation student from the School of Economics, University of Hyderabad. Sri Govinda Hari delivered a talk on affordable eye care services in the state of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the importance of preventable blindness, the responsibility of Government and non-government organisations, the significance of community involvement, and collaboration to fight blindness by various stakeholders.

As many Optometrists were unaware of the contents of the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act, 2021 (NCAHP Act 2021), there were questions and confusion among the participants. Prof. Vijay Kumar updated the participants on the AHP council and its objectives. A panel discussion on the AHP Act 2021 was moderated by Dr. Nagaraju Konda and discussed by Dr. Vijay Kiran Sarvepalli, HOD, Academics Optometry & Vision Sciences, PVRI Chain of Hospitals, Mr. Chandrakanth Reddy, Consultant Optometrist, ESIC Super Specialty Hospital, Sanath Nagar, Hyderabad, and Mr. Kiran Challa, Head, Professional Services, Eyegear Optics. Where different questions on the AHP council from Dr. Nagaraju Konda and the audience were answered by various panelists.

The following points were discussed and requested the AHP Council Chairman to consider implementing the following:

  1. The Academic Bank Credits (ABC) as per the UGC regulations, 2021 to develop competency based on dynamic curriculum content, and to develop the pool of optometry faculty.
  2. The optometry professional associations, councils, and Universities should come together and draft the curriculum for the multiple entry and exit criteria for optometry similar to the lateral entry for engineering.
  3. A compulsory continuing professional development (CPD) criteria for professional license renewal.
  4. Mapping the match between the educational qualifications and skill set.

It was a Very informative and interesting discussion among the panelists, guests, and audience.

Honourable Vice Chancellor, of the University of Hyderabad, Prof. Basuthkar Jagadeeshwar Rao Garu addressed the gathering and recited the pledge to love my eyes for attendees on the occasion of World Sight Day. The most amazing, adventurous, and interesting session was the blindfold walk. The participants shared their experiences of blindfolding walk.

The WSD2022 was concluded by reiterating the theme of WSD2022: “Love your eyes”, and by thanking all the participants and thanking Mr. Shajan Adolph and Ms. Ananthalaxmi, and team Essilor for their support.

Contributed by: Hasaji Meena, School of Medical Sciences