Oct 11th every year is celebrated as World Sight Day. It is an attempt to attract world attention on vision impairment and blindness. The fundamental goal of WSD is to take stock of the extensive problem of preventable blindness.
Advertisement'Right to Sight for One and All' forms the cornerstone of WSD endeavors, clearly charted under VISION 2020 goals. Significantly, the focus will be on Blindness in children, its repercussions on their future. The crux will rest on the measures that can be adopted to tackle preventable blindness.
Seeing is Believing
Oh, say! What is that thing called light, which I must ne'er enjoy? What are the blessings of the sight? Oh, tell your poor blind boy!
- Colley Cibber
Nearly 37 million people around the globe are unable to differentiate between darkness and light - they are completely blind. Almost 124 million people carry fears of a bleak future as they suffer low vision.
Amid the dismal statistic, the ray of hope is that more than 100 million people could be saved if the objectives of VISION 2020 see the light of day. Experts feel that nearly 75% of blindness is preventable with timely examination and proper treatment.
The Right to Sight campaign spearheaded by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organization will solicit the effort of the international network of NGO's, several institutions to completely obliterate avoidable blindness by 2020.
There are nearly 1.4 million young whose childhood stands marred by blindness. According to a WHO statistic nearly 75% of the world's blind children belong to the underprivileged regions of Asia and Africa.
Childhood blindness may be the result of a cluster of diseases manifesting during childhood or during the onset of puberty. If untreated, this could lead to severe impairment of vision, that is seldom revocable. Congenital abnormalities, for example, cataract, retina dystrophies and glaucoma is a worldwide phenomenon resulting in visual impairment or even blindness.
One of the prominent causes of blindness in children is deficiency of Vitamin A. The solution is simple and inexpensive and well within reach- Vitamin A supplements.
Further, 60% of children who lose their sight do not survive beyond a year of their blindness. Among those who survive, almost 90% of them are unable to blossom like normal children and are nipped in the bud due to the disability.
It is here that timely medical intervention could play a crucial role in enabling timely remedies for chronic eye problems and save children from completely losing vision.
VISION 2020 teams across the world have been distributing many millions of Vitamin A capsules on an annual basis in regions where deficiency is the leading cause of child blindness. Further, pediatric eye care services are also being spruced up on a war footing.
Refractive errors account for about 5 million blind people. Many of them continue to suffer low vision as they are unable to afford spectacles. These can be remedied with timely optical correction. Vision 2020 is involved in providing low cost options to correct refractive errors especially in underprivileged areas.
Helen Keller said, "The most beautiful world is always entered through imagination." Let us join hands, see eye to eye in envisioning sight for one and all!