You are at: District Refractive Error Search and Treat Initiative (DRESTI)

The problem is the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment, poor eye care availability and barriers to accessing care – and the resultant impact on the population of one of the poorest districts in Bangladesh. The major cause of visual impairment is Uncorrected Refractive Error. Both conditions can affect a child’s education and an adult’s ability to perform skilled work. Visually impaired people are more likely to have to perform menial jobs, impacting household income and individual physical and emotional wellbeing – and reinforcing the cycle of poverty. In Sherpur, there are significant barriers to accessing quality eye care. Firstly, limited awareness of eye health and how to access care. Secondly, a national shortage of ophthalmologists (only 1,000 for a population of 159 million, of whom the majority are in the capital), no eye care at community level and no district eye care plan. Thirdly, direct and indirect costs (travel, treatment, lost wages) can be prohibitive – particularly for women who typically do not have access to family finances.

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