Data & Statistics


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Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]



What is the definition of blindness under NPCB

Blindness is defined under following headings:

Simple Definition:

·        Inability of a person to count fingers from a distance of 6 meters or 20 feet

Technical Definition

·      Vision 6/60 or less with the best possible spectacle correction

·      Diminution of field vision to 20° or less in better eye


What are the types of blindness

These are:

·         Economic blindness:    as described above

·         Social     blindness:     vision 3/60 or diminution of field of vision to 10°

·         Manifest blindness:     vision 1/60 to just perception of light

·         Absolute blindness:     No perception of light

·         Curable  blindness:     That stage of blindness where the damage is reversible by prompt 

                                    management eg cataract

·        Preventable blindness: The loss of blindness that could have been completely prevented 

                                    by institution of effective preventive or prophylactic measures eg 

                                    xerophthalmia, trachoma, and glaucoma

·        Avoidable blindness:   The sum total of preventable or curable blindness is often referred

                                    to as avoidable blindness.


What is WHO definition of blindness

·        For International comparison, WHO has defined blindness at the level of 3/60 or inability to count fingers at a distance of 3 meters or 10 feet


What are main causes of blindness in India

·         Cataract                                 : 62.60%

·         Refractive errors                      : 19.70%

·         Glaucoma                               : 05.80%

·         Posterior segment disorder       : 04.70%

·         Surgical Complication               : 01.20%

·         Corneal blindness                    : 0.90%

·         Posterior capsular opacification : 0.90%

·         Others                                   : 04.19%


What are the reasons for prevalence of blindness in India

The major reasons are:

·         The overall increase in the size of the population

·         The life expectancy for both males and females has steadily increased

·         A major proportion of aged population in rural areas have poor access to eye care facilities in India

·         Inadequate availability of trained health personnel. Further, the services of available ophthalmic surgeons in the country are not being adequately utilized. Many ophthalmologists are purely working in administrative jobs and similar proportion is posted at peripheral units with no ophthalmic equipments.

·         The poor nutritional status of mothers and young children predisposes the pre-school children to nutrition blindness. However, it is heartening to note that prevalence of nutritional blindness has decreased tremendously over the past few years

·         Adverse environmental conditions and domestic unhygienic conditions predispose to high infection rates

·         Lack of community awareness and poor health seeking behavior

·         The prevalence of myths and misconception about surgeries hamper the achievement of programme objectives


What is cataract

Cataract is a term applied when the human lens loses its transparency and become opacified. Hence the light cannot pass through the lens so as to produce a clear image


Can cataract be cured

Cataract cannot be treated or salvaged by giving medicines. The only treatment of cataract is by surgery.


What are common eye symptoms amongst school going children

·         Inability to see letter clearly.

·         Letters in a line may appear superimposed or zigzag

·         Writing on the blackboard or cinema cannot be seen unless they are sitting very close

·         Strain to the eye by continuous reading/working on computers/watching television causes headache, tiredness, pain or watering in the eye

·         Unclear/blurred vision

·         Inability to see objects clearly in dim light/night blindness


What is cornea

The cornea is a transparent watch glass like structure, spherical in shape present in front of the eyes. Vision can be dramatically reduced if the cornea becomes cloudy from inherited disease, injury, infections, chemical burns, congenital disease etc.


What is eye bank

Eye bank is an organization, which deals with the collection, storage and distribution of the donor eyes for the purpose of corneal grafting, research and supply of eye tissue for other ophthalmic purpose.


When was the fist eye bank established in India

In India, the first eye bank was established in 1945 at Madras [Chennai] and Dr. Dhanda of Indore carried the first successful corneal transplantation in 1960.


Who can donate eyes

Almost anyone at any age can pledge to donate eyes after “Death”. This can be done even if donor wear glasses, has cataract or has undergone eye surgery successfully


Facts about eye donation

·         The eyes have to be removed within six hours of death. So the nearest eye bank or eye collection centre must be informed immediately irrespective of the initial pledging of eye donation.

·        Eye removal takes only 10-15 minutes and leaves no scar or disfigurement of the face

·         Only the cornea is transplanted for all practical purpose and not the entire eyeball. However, other parts of eye is used for research and education purpose.

·         Eye donation gives sight to two blind persons. One blind person is given one eye.

·         The donated corneas are transplanted to patients eye who are waiting list in accordance with the priority based on guidelines to avoid malpractices.

·         The eyes are never bought or sold. Eye donation is never refused


Are there any synthetic substitutes for the cornea

So far no substitutes have been developed for the cornea


How many medical colleges are offering postgraduate courses in Ophthalmology in India

Kindly see website of Medical Council of India []


How many postgraduate seats [Degree/Diploma/DNB] are available in ophthalmology in the country

Kindly see website of Medical Council of India []

Kindly see website of National Board of Examination []


What are the objectives of National Programme for Control of Blindness [NPCB]

The objectives of the programme are:

·         To reduce the backlog of blindness through indentification and treatment of blind

·         To develop eye care facilities in every district

·         To develop human resource for providing eye care services

·         To improve quality of service delivery

·         To secure participation of voluntary organization in eye care


What are the stratigies of Government to tackle the problem of Blindness in India

·        Comprehensive eye care services addressing major blinding causes: cataract, refreactive

    errors and low vision, childhood blindness, corneal blindness, glacuma, diabetic 

    retinopathy etc

·        Development of eye care services and improvement in quality of eye care by training of

    personnel, supply of high tech equipments, strengthening follow up services and 

    monitoring of services

·        Decentralized implementation of the schems through state and district health societies

·        Reduction in backlog of blind persons active screening of population over 50 years,

    organizing screening camps and transporting operable cases to eye care facilities

·        Involvement of voluntary organization in various NPCB activities

·        Participation of community and Panchayati raj institutions in organizing services in the

    rural area

·        Screening of school going children for identification and treatment or refractive errors,

    with special attention to under served areas

·        Promoting eye donation, processing and utilization of donated eyes for treatment of

    corneal blindness

·        Specaial focus of illiterate women in rural areas, convergence with ongoing schemes for 

   development of women and children

·        Free treatment to poor patients through qualified government and non-governemental


·        Public awareness about prevention and timely treatment of eye ailments


What are the schemes available for participation of Voluntary org./NGO under NPCB

The schemes available under NPCB are [for detail, kindly see NGO guidelines]:

·         Non-recurring grant in aid for expansion/upgradation of eye care units

·         Non-recurring grant in aid for setting up/strengthening of eye bank &eye donation centres

·         Non-recurring grant in aid for setting up/strengthening vision centres

·         Recurring grant in aid for performing free cataract operations in hospital

·         Recurring grant in aid to eye banks and eye donation centres