Bengaluru, 18th January 2016: Realizing that Road Safety needs drivers to get their eyes tested Sankara Eye Foundation partnered with RTO and Young Indians – CII,Bangalore Chapter to launch the campaign ‘Eyes on Road and Horn Not OK’. As part of the campaign, students from the Sankara College of Optometry used the medium of theatre through street plays and mimes to promote ‘Road safety’ on 16th Jan, 2016 at the Marathahalli Bridge, Marathahalli Bus stop and Kundalahalli Gate Junction among others. Apart from enhancing safety by avoiding drunken driving and use of mobiles on the road, they also advocated for drivers getting their eyes tested and reducing the use of horns on the streets.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, sleep disturbance and annoyance is ranked as major components of health burden caused due to noise. Other impacts are heart diseases and cognitive impairment in children have also been noted. Apart from these health effects, loud vehicle horns result in impaired emotions and also affect road safety behavior.
Bangalore’s roads are a mélange of vehicles, natural and man-made obstacles and pedestrians, impatient and incessantly honking. “While interviewing drivers on the need to horn, they often indicated that it was a mix of frustration of being late and also a defensive practice to avoid accidents. This made us wonder if there was a problem with their vision. Of the 6500+ drivers we screened over the past year we realized that almost 1 in 5 drivers are unable to see clearly.” shares Dr Kaushik Murali, President Sankara Eye Foundation, India.
Each year Sankara Eye foundation organizes free eye screening camps for drivers as part of road safety week. This year too, Sankara has performed more than 2000 eye screenings. “Our screening in coordination with the Road Transport Organization and other corporates showed that the problem ranged from 30% in auto drivers to 15-25% in commercial and heavy vehicle drivers. Further 10% of those with glasses were wearing the wrong prescription”, said Dr Y Umesh, Chief Medical Officer, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore.
“The traffic police were really cooperative and supported the campaign and said it is one of the best methods to raise awareness among general public.” George Alexander Muthoot, Chair Young Indians – CII, Bangalore chapter added that, “Awareness is being raised through eye screenings across the city, by getting prominent personalities including poets, entrepreneurs and theatre artists like Ms. Padmavathi Rao and social activist and founder of Positive Strokes, Mrs. Anusha to carry this message through social media campaigns.
Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore an NABH accredited tertiary hospital is a unit of Sankara Eye Foundation. Under the aegis of a nonprofit NGO, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust founded in 1977 at Coimbatore with a vision to provide quality eye care, the hospital performs over 25000 eye surgeries annually.
The Sankara College of Optometry is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and admits students for a 4 year Bachelors Programme in Optometry.
Sankara Eye Foundation has its presence across 8 states and total bed strength of 1800. It has treated and performed more than 1.3 million Free Eye Care surgeries.(www.sankaraeye.com).