Eye Openers is a Christian based program providing eye and medical care to the poor and needy in rural India in a small town called Payakaraopeta, located in the Visag District in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Within a 50km radius of Payakaraopeta there are 150 smaller villages with a total population of around 500,000. Most of these people are classed as poor and underprivileged.
In the area immediately beyond this, there are a further 1,000,000 people with minimal or no access to eye and medical services. It is these people who are too poor to access medical care that Eye Openers serves.
The Eye Openers Ophthalmology Program was set up in 2002 by Dr Kota Kumar, a well respected Indian and western trained ophthalmologist. Prior to setting up Eye Openers, Dr Kumar worked as a mission eye doctor for 18 years in rural India. Dr Kumar works with Dr Bhaskar, an ophthalmologist who performs most of the cataract surgeries.
In addition, the team includes an ophthalmic assistant, a theater assistant, an outpatient assistant and and an optician. Other helpers organise remote village clinics and advertise these clinic visits.
The project is registered by the government of Andhra Pradesh and provides its service through an eye clinic and surgery in the home base village of Payakaraopeta and also by servicing clinics in the surrounding smaller villages.
The remote village Eye Clinics provide diagnosis and basic eye care including the provision of prescription glasses and eye drops.
Medicines, spectacles and eye drops are given free of charge; patients seen at the main clinic are either given free treatment, or pay a small fee, depending on their means. People who need eye surgery are scheduled for surgery at the main centre. The Centre also organises their travel to and from the surgery. In addition, a general medical clinic is provided where common ailments such as arthritis and malnutrition are treated.
Each year Eye Openers team sees over 40,000 patients and performs approximately 1,000 cataract operations.