Purpose: To document the status of pediatric eye care in India.
Materials and methods: A list of institutions providing eye care was compiled from various sources, including government officials, professional bodies of ophthalmologists, and national and international non-governmental organizations (NGO) working in the field of eye care in India. A questionnaire on eye care services was sent to all known eye care institutions in the country. Workshops and regional meetings were organized to maximize response. Validity of data was ensured by observational visits to 10% of the institutions who responded.
Results: Out of 1204 institutions contacted, 668 (55.5%) responded to the questionnaire. Of these, 192 (28.7%) reported that they provided pediatric eye care services. A higher proportion (48.3%) of NGO hospitals reported separate pediatric ophthalmology units compared to other providers (P< 0.001). Eighty per cent of advanced care eye hospitals had dedicated outpatient, and 40% had dedicated inpatient facilities for children (P< 0.001). The advanced eye care hospitals attended to a larger number of pediatric clients (P < 0.001), and performed more pediatric eye surgeries compared to secondary and tertiary care hospitals (P < 0.001). Eighty-three per cent of advanced care centers and 72.4% of NGO hospitals had an anesthesiologist for pediatric eye service. Refractive error was the commonest reason for seeking service. The commonest surgical procedure was pediatric cataract surgery followed by squint surgery.
Conclusion: Pediatric eye care services are not adequate in India.