Walk for Vision on World Sight Day: Vision Document for Eye Health for Karnataka

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Today is World Sight Day. Nearly 650 participants walked around Bengaluru’s Cubbon park to raise awareness on eye care on the occasion of World Sight Day 2015. The participants included senior officials from the Union and State Health Ministry, eye care NGO Hospitals, optometry students, Lions Club members and other stakeholders.

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World Sight Day observed globally on second Thursday of October every year is an important global moment for highlighting ‘eye care for all’. The day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment and engage different stakeholders to act for the prevention of avoidable blindness. Every year, World Sight Day is celebrated in over 300 events in 60 countries around the world.

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This year, WSD is marked the world over with the global call to action: “Eye Care for All” with an aim to provide equal access to eye health to women, children, senior citizens, marginalized population and all locations in the country.

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The Walk for Vision was organised in Bengaluru by VISION 2020: The Right to Sight – INDIA in collaboration with the National Programme for Control of Blindness, Government of India and the State Blindness Programme, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka.

Launching the Walk for Vision on World Sight Day, Mr Atul Kumar Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka shared that  “Karnataka government will be coming out with an eye health policy – a vision document on eye health for the state. This is expected to be ready in three months time.” Once complete, the document will be given to the state government for implementation.

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The eye health policy is expected to give a lot of impetus on school eye screening to ensure that all school going children are covered shared Dr B C Rathna, Joint Director ( Ophthalmology), Health and Family Services, Karnataka.

Talking on the importance of eye health Mr AK Tiwari shared his experience as school kid when he had problem reading from the black board. But when he got the glass after corrected vision it was “as if the whole world had come alive.”

Dr NK Agarwal, Deputy Director General, National Programme for Control of Blindness, Government of India exhorted that instead of limiting the awareness day to just one day, it should be observed throughout the year.

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According to World Health Organisation, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.

India shoulders the second highest number of blind at 10 million.

  • 8 million cases of blindness and 54 million cases of low vision in India. 60% of blindness is due to cataract and 20% due to refractive error.

Up to 80% of cases of blindness are avoidable.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr V Rajshekhar, Assistant Commissioner, National Programme for Control of Blindness, Government of India said that “we need to understand that in other eye problems like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, it is possible to get some vision back.”

The fact is that 80 percent of blindness and vision impairments can be prevented or treated. Professionals in eye care, the government and the general public need to work together to ensure every person has access to eye care and change the odds in our country,”  said Dr Sara Varughese, President, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight – INDIA.

International NGO – CBM – and a number of city eye hospitals – Globe Eye Hospital, Sankara Eye Care Institute, West Lions Eye Hospital, Dr Solanki Eye Hospital, Vittala Eye Institute also joined in the walk which started from the Press Club premises. Some of the senior government officials from the Central and State health ministry walked blindfolded guided by the White Cane to experience momentarily the world of the visually challenged.

                 

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