The 80th Annual Conference of the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS), with nearly 24,000 members, announced a key pledge to reduce preventable blindness by 50% in India by 2025, with the aim of serving the community through their profession.
Preventable blindness events are caused by cataracts, diabetes mellitus, vitamin A deficiency, and trauma-related blindness. India has the highest number of blind people in the world, with an estimated 12 million preventable blindness cases in the country who, if not treated in time, will become partially or completely blind.
The All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS), founded in 1930, is a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The membership of the society has been growing steadily for many years and currently has more than 23,669 lifetime members.
The aims of the society are to develop and enhance the study and training of ophthalmology, research and human resource development and to improve social interactions among ophthalmologists in the country with the aim of serving the community.
The society holds annual conferences in various parts of the country. During these conferences, various scientific activities such as instructional courses, symposia, lectures, postgraduate refresher courses, booth lectures, wet labs, and surgical skills transfer courses are conducted to enhance awareness and exchange of knowledge.
In recognition of their services in various specialties, the association offers its members incentives in the form of awards, speeches, prizes and fellowships.
80th Annual Conference Synopsis
This year the 80th Annual Conference of the All India Ophthalmological Society was held on 2nd June to 5th June at Jio World Centre situated in Mumbai, India. It was inaugurated by the celebrity Ms. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
President of AIOS, Dr. Lalit Verma (2022-2023) elaborated on the theme of the 80th Annual Conference of AIOS and said, "Preventable blindness must be addressed with a strong commitment as it impacts individuals' quality of life directly and dramatically. It also impacts individual economic activity and consequently impacts the productive output of the entire country. Cataract in the aging can be solved with relative ease and timely eye examinations can help cure diabetic eye disease. Eye diseases due to vitamin A deficiency are also quite simple to solve. Our pledge to reduce preventable blindness to 50% by 2025 is going to be a national initiative with the active involvement of our members."
Dr. Barun Kumar Nayak, President (2021-2022), AIOS, added, "India has about one ophthalmologist for every 60,000 of our population, which puts a very heavy onus on our profession to take care of the population's eye diseases. Ophthalmologists in India are among the best trained in the world and have been striving untiringly to put their profession to the best use of the citizens of India. We want government to encourage public-private partnerships in this endeavour to bring down preventable blindness. CSR funds of corporate must be allowed to be deployed for this very important social cause."
Padmashree Dr. T.P. Lahane, Organizing Chairman, AIOC 2022, explained the process and averred, "The 80th Annual Conference of AIOS is a landmark occasion, undoubtedly the longest series of conferences by any medical association or society. In Maharashtra, we have successfully implemented programs for reducing preventable blindness by holding hundreds of eye camps held over the last three decades. We also create awareness on how to avoid injury to the eyes, each year we have been able to help over 7,00,000 people to come from darkness to light with the help of the government and NGOs. If we adopt the Maharashtra Model nationally, we will be able to bring down preventable blindness across the country significantly."
Dr. Namrata Sharma, Honorary Secretary, AIOS, spoke on further expectations from the government, "Government must ban selling 'chuna' to children, as its mishandling can cause eye injuries even leading to blindness. Another major cause of blindness is in factories, and a compulsory inspection of workplaces is needed to see that protective eye wear is made available to every worker in situations where eye injuries are possible and to ensure safety standards are fully followed. Government led advertisement campaigns are needed urging diabetics to seek eye check-ups so that there is mass public awareness."