OdishaPlus Bureau

In a significant step towards tackling one of the leading causes of preventable blindness, Sightsavers India and AbbVie India have joined forces to launch a nationwide series of state-level consultations on glaucoma awareness. The inaugural event, held at Lemon Tree Premier in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, marked the beginning of this initiative to safeguard opthalmic health across India.

The consultation brought together various domains of experts, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, public health professionals, and media representatives, to address the pressing issue of glaucoma-induced visual impairment. With early detection and treatment being pivotal in preventing sight loss, this collaborative effort aims to revolutionize public understanding and approach to eye health.

Sightsavers India’s State Programme Lead for Odisha, Siva Prasad, inaugurated the consultation, followed by a comprehensive address from R.N. Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers India, outlining the initiative’s goals and importance in combating glaucoma.

R.N. Mohanty underscored the significance of the initiative, stating, “By fostering dialogue and disseminating critical information, we’re not just raising awareness; we’re potentially saving sight. This partnership with AbbVie India represents a cornerstone in our mission to eradicate preventable blindness.”

The event was graced by Dr. Mukesh Mahaling, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, who commended the initiative for its potential to transform eye care accessibility and awareness in the region.

Suresh Pattathil, Managing Director & General Manager of AbbVie India, expressed via email, “This collaboration epitomizes our commitment to innovating in healthcare delivery. By merging expertise and resources, we’re paving the way for a future where vision loss is no longer an inevitability but a manageable condition.”

Highlighting the human impact of glaucoma, the event featured personal stories from individuals whose lives were transformed by early diagnosis and treatment. These personal narratives served as powerful reminders of the real-world implications of the campaign’s mission.

Dr. Suneeta Dubey, Medical Director and Director of Glaucoma Services at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi, a pioneer in minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries, delivered a compelling keynote address, highlighting cutting-edge treatments and emphasizing the critical importance of regular eye examinations.

The panel discussion brought together dignitaries like Dr. Sumita Mohapatra, Professor and Head of the Department at Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar; Dr. Sanghamitra Dash from CARE Hospitals, Bhubaneswar; Dr. N.V. Raghunath Rao of AMRI Hospitals, Bhubaneswar; Basant Mohanty, a Development Professional with a Master’s Degree and M.Phil. in Anthropology specializing in Social Anthropology from Utkal University, Odisha; Dr. Jiban Ballav Sarangi, Additional Director for the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB); Dr. Madan Mohan Pradhan, an Applied Epidemiology; and Minati Singha, a renowned journalist working with The New Indian Express.

The panel discussed “Prevention of Visual Impairment Due to Glaucoma,” engaging in a robust discussion on glaucoma prevention, exploring innovative strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and public engagement. The subsequent Q&A session facilitated an open dialogue, encouraging community participation in the fight against glaucoma.

Prasannakumar P.N., Director of Programme Operations at Sightsavers India, concluded the event by outlining future steps in the campaign, emphasizing the ongoing need for vigilance and regular check-ups in glaucoma prevention.

As part of the event’s practical approach, attendees over 40 were offered on-site glaucoma screenings, demonstrating the campaign’s commitment to action.