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NGO Orbis' flying eye hospital lands today

International NGO Orbis study finds that there is a low level of awareness about child blindness among parents in M'rashtra.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2007 15:33 IST

A flying eye hospital operated by international NGO Orbis on Thursday set up base in Mumbai for the next two weeks to conduct training programmes.

One of the main reasons for the Orbis flying eye hospital coming to India is that the country has the largest population of the blind in the world, members of the NGO said.

According to WHO reports, India has seven million blind people, Gullapalli N Rao of LV Prasad Eye Institute said. But this figure did not include those with refractive errors.

Rao was one of the speakers at a function organised to mark the arrival here of the hospital in an aircraft. Despite the fact that India has the most blind people, the good news is that the number is diminishing, he said.

"Between 1995 and 2002, from nine million it has come down to seven million. Globally, the numbers are down to 35 million from 45 million."
The drop is because of an increase in cataract surgery, Rao explained.

In January, an Orbis study among parents in Maharashtra found that there was a low level of awareness among them about child blindness. The study showed that while 20 per cent of the children surveyed suffered from some form of eye disease, more than 50 per cent of parents were unaware about this.

First Published: Mar 29, 2007 20:23 IST