Essilor partner GKB Hi-Tech organized a three-day eye camp in a remote part of Kashmir in August. The event, which screened over 1,800 people, aimed to address the lack of eye care facilities and professionals in the region and make eye care available for the local population.

“The camp was a very moving experience for us, seeing how we could help improve the lives of so many people. We are currently working on ideas which could make this project self-sustaining, working with the local population to take on the work of providing eye care through commercial business models which could also provide local employment opportunities,” said Neeraj Gupta, Director of GKB Hi-Tech.

GKB Hi-Tech worked with Vision 360°, an Indian optical chain, to put together high-tech refraction equipment and a team of four optometrists. Given the huge numbers of participants involved, logistical support was provided by the Indian Army to organize waiting areas, registration counters, computerized and manual screening areas and to oversee the general security of everyone in this politically sensitive region.

“The camp was a very moving experience for us, seeing how we could help improve the lives of so many people.”

The event was advertised in advance via local press and radio, in local mosques and through cars with loudspeakers driving to remote villages. Over 1,800 patients, ranging from 25 to 80 years, were screened and more than 700 pairs of glasses were provided free of cost. In addition, 2400 children in the area were screened.

GKB Hi-Tech, based in Goa, and one of the leading manufacturers in India of glass and plastic ophthalmic lenses, became an Essilor partner at the end of 2011. Kashmir is the most northern state in India – 2500km distant from GKB Hi-Tech’s headquarters in Goa and 3000km from Essilor India’s base in Bangalore.