Community Ophthalmology department of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences AIIMS is involved in community based activities like comprehensive primary eye care services, camps, school vision screening, low vision rehabilitation, and in epidemiological research and surveys, training and capacity building, community awareness and mobilization apart from academic activities. As a part of routine outreach eye care services, it runs fifteen integrated Primary Eye Care Clinics in urban slums and underprivileged community of Delhi. Since 2015, in collaboration with the Government of Delhi and with the support of Sightsavers NGO, services are being provided in the Delhi government and municipal health dispensaries / centres. There is a 30-bedded dedicated ward under community ophthalmology inside the centre. Outreach services also include screening of diabetic retinopathy in the underserved populations. Currently, there are three dedicated faculty members. Dr Suraj was awarded ACOIN Gold Medal for the year 2015-16 for excellence in Community Eye care. A team of 50+ supporting staff includes ophthalmologists, optometrists, research scholars, field investigator, health workers and data managers etc. The department has a PhD program and during 2019, three scholars were in various stages of their PhD program. The department was established in 1992 and is celebrating its silver jubilee in 2017.
Community Ophthalmology is involved in the activities like comprehensive primary eye care services, outreach eye camps in community as well as schools for the blind, school vision screening, low vision rehabilitation, and in epidemiological research and surveys, training and capacity building, community awareness and mobilization apart from academic activities. Outreach services also include screening of diabetic retinopathy in the underserved populations. Community ophthalmology is currently running 20 projects on eye care research & services in partnership with National agencies like NPCB&VI, DHR, ICMR, DST. Close collaborations have been developed with international agencies like World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine UK, ORBIS, Sightsavers, Visionspring, Operation Eyesight Universal, CBM etc. Community Ophthalmology completed National Blindness and Visual Impairment (NB&VI) Survey2015-19 in 31 districts across the country with support from National Programme for Control Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB & VI), Government of India. The executive summaries of the National Blindness and visual Impairment Survey reports were released by the Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India, Dr Harsh Vardhan on 10-11 October 2019. Community Ophthalmology is collaborating with CARE department, IIT-Delhi for developing artificial intelligence, neural network, and vision computing based tools to detect glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy in patients receiving primary eye care services. Conducted anoperational research on involvement of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) in delivery of primary eye care amongst urban poor population.
The department has dedicated teams that provide primary eye care services to poor and vulnerable communities as identified locations all over Delhi. These centres have been identified in collaboration with the local state government and with the various collaborative NGOs to ensure maximum benefit to the communities. The department conducts comprehensive eye camps under the Reach-In-Program in areas around Delhi (in NCR region). Patients that can be managed with these centres / camps are provided medicines and refraction services on the spot. Patients requiring cataract surgery are transported to RP Centre and get admitted and operated free of charge. Special arrangements are made to support the management of patients requiring management under various ophthalmic sub-specialties at RP Centre. Under Low Vision Rehabilitation services organized by the department, people with visual disability are being provided with low vision aids and visual rehabilitation services in the form of counseling, issuance of disability certificates, mobility & orientation training, activities of daily living training and advise for environmental and lighting modification etc. Community based rehabilitation is also run through networking system with various NGOs.