Sight beyond the Delta: The Untold Story of Eye Health in Sundarbans

The Sundarbans, known for its unique biodiversity, is also home to a resilient community that has battled various adversities. However, one challenge that often goes unnoticed is the limited access to eye care services. Geographical remoteness, coupled with economic constraints, has made it difficult for the residents of Sundarbans to prioritize their eye health.

Eye problems mostly impact the elderly population in the Sundarbans, creating countless of challenges that are intensified by the region’s unique geographical and socio-economic conditions.

This poor vision significantly hampers the ability of the poorest of the poor elderly to engage in daily activities, ranging from basic self-care to participating in community life. The Sundarbans, while rich in biodiversity, can become a lonely and isolating place for those with compromised vision. This social isolation not only affects mental well-being but also diminishes the quality of life for seniors who find themselves dependent on others for daily routine tasks. Seniors who were once pillars of their families and communities, and now fully depends on their family, evoke the feelings of frustration, sadness, and at times, a sense of burden.

Economically, the senior citizens are engaged in livelihood activities like fishing or agriculture, experience a decline in productivity due to visual impairments, leading to potential financial strain.

We all know that Eye is the most important organ in our human body, which helps people to make their daily life decisions. Without vision, people would unable to witness the joy of sunset, the warmth of a smile, or the vibrant colours of a painting would be replaced by a reliance on touch, sound, and memory.

Understanding the critical importance of eye care in enhancing the overall well-being of the community, Sabuj Sangha and SBI Foundation has come together to take a significant step in bridging the vision gap through its impactful eye care services to the elderly people of Sundarbans. This initiative goes beyond providing mere eye check-ups; it’s a commitment to ensuring that all the senior citizen of Sundarbans has access to quality eye care services. We aim to reach 5000 vulnerable elderly people with eye problems by 2027, so that they can live with dignity, independence, and a vibrant life in the Sundarbans, and also can impact their daily life decision making.

Till now, we have reached up to more than 500 vulnerable senior citizens in Sundarbans. We are conducting our eye care clinics twice a week at our hospital, namely “Swarnalata Sabuj Seva Sadan” at Nandakumarpur village, Mathurapur II block of South 24 Parganas.

In future, we are looking forward to extend this activity into integrated level, so that not only the senior citizens, but for the new and the school going children, who are unaware about their eye problems can also benefitted from us.

As we explored the challenges faced by senior citizens with eye problems in the Sundarbans, it becomes evident that our collective efforts can make a meaningful difference in their lives. If you find resonance with this cause, consider supporting us. Your contribution, whether through awareness, volunteering, or donations, can help illuminate the lives of the elderly in the Sundarbans. Together, let’s be the catalysts for positive change and ensure that every senior citizen in the Sundarbans can enjoy a future with clearer vision and enhanced well-being.