Today, 11 October 2018, is the world sight day. It is marked every year on the second Thursday of October with the purpose of drawing the world’s attention towards various vision impairments and blindness. This year’s World Sight Day theme is ‘Eye Care Everywhere’. It aims to spread awareness to general public on blindness, reasons that can cause blindness and how to prevent it. It also targets to draw government focus on the cause and raise sufficient funds to help resolve the issue and help the people with visual challenges.
This day was originally initiated by the Lions Club International foundation in 2000.
Eyes are one of the most important sensory organs; it is hard to imagine how challenging life can be for a visually impaired person. As per Who 2017 report, there are 39 million people who are blind, 253 million people have a vision impairment and more than 246 million have a low vision. The majority of blind and visually impaired peopleare from low income families. Almost 80% of all the vision impairment can be prevented or cured as many of these are caused by cataract or other refractive errors.
There are multiple organizations in India that are working towards helping the visually impaired with the aim to cure and prevent blindness and other eye ailments; the ones who have done prominent works are listed below.
Vision Foundation of India: Started by Dr Kulin Kothari 25 years back, this organization has helped many downtrodden families in rural India by conducting free operations and eye camps for them. Their mission is to provide timely, quality and affordable treatments. They plan to reach the rural and urban India and work towards eliminating blindness. Till date, they have helped thousands of visually challenged to gain sight.
Shah Satnam Ji Super Speciality Hospital: Located in the Sirsa, Haryana, the hospital along with Dera Sacha Sauda conducts free monthly medical camps along with an annual Mega Eye Camp held from 12-15 December.The Eye camp was initiated in the year 1992 by the Spiritual Master Saint Gurmeet Ram rahim Singh ji and since then more than 29,000 patients from the low income section of the society have been given the gift of sight through free eye operations. More than 1,50,000 people have pledged for posthumous eye donation and they also host the North India’s second largest Eye Bank, Poojneeya Mata Kartar Kaur ji International Eye bank.Their mission is to prevent vision loss and restore the vision for the blind.
SightSavers India: SightSavers India is the Indian branch of international organization Sightsavers who work towards educating, supporting and counselling the people with eye disorders. They help people to get rid of their visual impairment and try to rehabilitate them by giving those proper tools and guidance, in case the vision cannot be restored. They collaborate with various medical organizations, government bodies and private partners to achieve the mission of eradicating blindness.
Together we all need to understand and prevent the causes of blindness and vision impairments and work towards helping those who suffer from it. Posthumous eye donation is a step that we all should be supporting and enrolling for. Further, helping a blind by referring him to NGOs who can help them is also our moral responsibility. Our small steps in this direction will go a long way towards putting a curb to this global problem, so let us do our bit.