Medical teams from each hospital reach patients in rural areas by conducting free eye camps. Patients are screened for various eye diseases; those who require cataract surgery are transported to the base hospital, treated, returned to the camp site and followed up after four weeks all free of cost.
Various steps involved in an eye camp are as follows:
Patient registration: The camp team, composed of ophthalmologists and paramedical staff, proceed to the campsite. With support from local community, local volunteers (usually students with legible handwriting) record the patient details - name, age and address - in the OP register and case sheet. Patients are given identity cards, which may be used for any future follow-up.
Preliminary vision test: Preliminary vision test is performed by ophthalmic assistants. Vision charts, such as the Snellen (in the local language) and E type charts, are used.
Step 3: Preliminary examination: Ophthalmologists perform the preliminary examination. Clinical conditions such as external eye infections, vision loss caused by nutritional deficiency and the incurably blind are examined. After this basic examination with the help of torch light and direct ophthalmoscope, the patients are directed to further steps.
Tension and duct examination: Patients above the age of 40 have their intraocular pressure tested. Senior level ophthalmic assistants administer topical anaesthetic drops and measure the intraocular pressure with a Schiotz tonometer. Lacrimal passage is also tested by syringing for the patients with cataract in operable condition. Facilities for the patients to lie on, additional benches for waiting patients, and adequate lighting are ensured.
Refraction: Refraction is performed on patients who have refractive errors, presbyopia, outdated glasses, or pseudo-aphakia. This process occurs in a simple, prefabricated, dark cubicle which is equipped with one or more foldaway partitions, trial lens sets, and mirrors. Well-trained ophthalmic technicians conduct refraction while volunteers control the patient flow.
Final examination: Senior Ophthalmologists evaluate the test findings, perform the final examination (which includes fundus examination on needy patients), review the patient records, make the final diagnoses and prescribe required management which could be , medication, eye glass prescription, surgery or treatment. (In a small camp, one doctor conducts both the preliminary and the final examination.)
Counselling: Patients advised for surgery or further specialty interventions are educated by the counsellors to uptake the relevant eye care. Patients who are advised for cataract surgery undergo blood pressure measurement and sugar test. Those who fit for surgery are counselled at the campsite are registered in Inpatients register and transported to the base hospital for surgery. These patients receive surgery, postoperative care, meals, and round-trip transportation all free of cost.
Optical Services : Opticians (sales person and technicians from optical division) also attend the screening camp as part of the medical team. A set of frames and required indent of power glasses are taken to the camp venue. Patients advised to wear eye glasses may use this opportunity as it is available at affordable price and receive eye glasses in the camp venue itself. The optician finishes the lens on a grinding machine, mounts the lens in the frames chosen by the patient.
The outreach department manned by a Manager governs the outreach programme throughout the year. Camp organizer, the employee of the hospital bridges the community and the base hospital to carry out the outreach programmes. The organizers work in the community in association with service organization for the fool proof conduct of the outreach programmes. The outreach department shares the results of camp, viz., patients screened, number of surgeries performed, patient discharged etc. with Government and the associates who support the camp in the community.