Monday, October 13, 2008

For Your Eyes Only

The World Sight Day is an event focusing on the problem of global blindness. This year, the annual day opened the eyes of the world on 9 Oct 08.

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is an organization leading international effort in blindness prevention. They launched a global initiative with the WHO in 1999 known as "VISION 2020: The Right to Sight".

The program has been adopted by more than 40 countries and it aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020 by raising public awareness around the world about the prevention and treatment of loss of vision.

Every five seconds one person in the world goes blind. One child goes blind every minute. It is estimated that over 7 mil people become blind every year. The sad truth is that, 80% of these cases are avoidable.

Approximately 314 mil people suffer serious vision impairment and of these, 45 mil people are blind and 124 mil have low vision. Without effective, major intervention, the number of blind people worldwide is projected to increase to 76 mil by 2020.

The causes of avoidable blindness are frequently associated with poverty and lack of access to quality eye care services. People who live in the developing world are 5 to 10 times more likely to go blind. 90% of the world's blind people live in developing countries - there are at least 9 mil blind people in India, 6 mil in China and 7 mil in Africa.

The annual World Sight Day provides an opportunity for the world to become more aware and more committed to ensuring the right to sight for all.

To commemorate World Sight Day, a local healthcare group is appealing for one milllion pairs of used spectacles for needy children and adults in developing Asian countries. The Singapore Medical Group has set up collection boxes at its 6 clinics in Novena Medical Centre and Paragon Medical Centre. The public can donate prescription and non-prescription glasses in plastic or metal frames. Children's glasses are especially needed.

Now, it is a good time to put your old glasses to good use.

The World Sight Day is held on the second Thursday of October every year. Don't wait till the next one on 8 Oct 2009. Do something to help and start digging your closets for used spectacles now.

"There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark." ~ Helen Keller ~

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