An Eye to the Future

Northwestern Project RISHI organized an eye clinic in Charnia, and will do so again because of its success.

When visiting Charnia this past summer, Northwestern Project RISHI conducted surveys on food and diet, did focus groups with local ASHA workers and set up an eye clinic for school children. The eye camp was an idea we conceived during our trip planning and brainstorming in the spring of 2014.

Gaining more overall health data was a goal of the trip and we felt that vision health, especially for children, was lacking in the area. Our research team started by visiting schools in area, which were generally in very good condition. We were checking for basic environmental observations, like food, sanitation, electricity and other school problems. Principals proudly showed off their school buildings to our team. All of the buildings had indoor washrooms, some had computer labs, and all provided free lunches to their students. Many of the children attending school in Charnia are children of brick laborers and attend for the free lunches. The teachers seemed generally to care greatly about their students. This was a much better picture than members of our team were expecting. However, we felt that an eye clinic would be helpful to students in these schools. They would check for vision problems and help improve the learning of students that did. This was made possible by the Grewal Eye Institute, who helped provide us with supplies and administer the tests in schools. We were testing specifically for cataracts disease. Cataracts is an eye disease that is caused by proteins that clump together around the eye, clouding the retina and reducing the ability to see sharp, clear images. The tests were cheap, fast, and easy to administer. Overall, 10 children showed signs of the disease and were referred to the Grewal Eye Institute in Chandigarh for a free follow-up treatment to fix the problem. The follow-ups occurred on the day our team left Charnia and returned to the US.

We received word later that the treatments were successful. With the ease and low costs of eye clinics, as well as having a partner who is willing to see the treatment through, Northwestern Project RISHI is going to continue to set up eye camps into the future.

Article by: Jackson Walker

Originally published at