The Health and Family Welfare Department has set a target of facilitating cataract surgeries for around 1.30 lakh people under the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) in 2013-14.
The surgeries would be conducted through Government institutions, camp approach by NGOs and private hospitals.
The target, in fact, has been downscaled from 2012-13 on account of low achievement. As many as 2.48 lakh surgeries were planned to be conducted last year but only 1,16,595 cases could be operated on with utilisation of available facilities.
The shortfall has been attributed to an acute shortage of grassroot-level manpower in the shape of paramedical ophthalmic assistants and huge vacancies in the level of eye surgeons in the State.
Despite increased focus on eye donation through awareness generation and education of the public, eye collection rate is yet to assume pace in the State.
Against a target of 1100 pair of eyes collection, the rate of collection and transplantation last year has been 598.
It has been decided to strengthen the Government and private eye banks as well as the eye donation centres by equipping them with required infrastructure and manpower.
Ophthalmic surgeons, ophthalmic assistants, eye donation counsellors and data entry operators would be appointed on contractual basis to fill up the vacancies in the districts for achievement of the targets set under the NPCB activities. A dedicated eye unit has been proposed to be set up at the sub-divisional hospital at Biramaharajpur in Sonepur district while the ophthalmology wing of the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack would be strengthened with advanced equipment, sources said.
Under the school eye screening (SES) programme, 4,67,368 students were examined against a target of 4.50 lakh in 2012-13. Of the screened students, 28,889 were found to have refractive errors.
While 17,586 were provided with spectacles, the rest were referred to hospitals for treatment.