In a step that would drastically exclude a large number of people from “blindness” in the country, India has come up with a new definition for blindness – one aligning with WHO’s criteria.
Redefining the criteria after 40 years, the new definition states anyone who is unable to count fingers from a distance of up to three meters would be considered blind, as opposed to the previous limit of six meters, as Times of India reported.
After 1976, this is the first time that the headline is getting revised with the objective of generating data to compare with the global estimates and achieve the WHO goal of reducing blindness in India to 0.3 per cent of the total population by 2020.
With this new definition, the population of people living with blindness in India will shrink from 1.2 crore to 80 lakh (as per records of the National Blindness Survey 2007).
WHO recommends reducing prevalence of blindness to 0.3 per cent by 2020, so that avoidable blindness can be eliminated – a goal which India needs to achieve.
The last definition was adopted when the National Programme for Control of Blindness was set up in 1976.