Kathmandu, October 13

Nepal observed the World Sight Day today with the theme ‘Stronger Together’ to raise awareness about preventable and curable blindness.

World Sight Day is a special annual event of awareness that is celebrated across the world each year to focus on blindness and vision impairment.

Aligned with the World Health Organisation, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness has targeted 25 per cent reduction in the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 2020 from the baseline of 2010.

A press statement issued by Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology said it is coordinating with all agencies involved in eye care to achieve the target. World Sight Day has since been integrated into ‘Vision 2020: The Right to Sight’ and is coordinated by IAPB in cooperation with the WHO.

The TIO is concentrating its eye health programmes in earthquake-affected areas in the capital and outside.

On this occasion, TIO and its community eye centres registered patients below the age of 18 and above the age of 60 for free of cost besides raising awareness about the importance of eye health in the presence of representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies, general public and eye patients.

According to Epidemiology of blindness in Nepal, 2012, Nepal has a population of an estimated 100,000 visually impaired (who cannot count fingers from a distance of three metres) and 2.5 per cent of people of above 50 years of age (who cannot count fingers from a distance of three metres).

Similarly, 66 per cent and 16 percent of the population suffers from treatable and preventable visual impairment respectively.

Cataract is responsible for 65 per cent of blindness in Nepal followed by retinal disease (9 per cent), (6 per cent), glaucoma (5 per cent), and uncorrected aphakia (4 per cent) among others.

According to the IAPB, four out of five cases of blindness can be prevented and treated. Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.

Around 90 per cent of visually impaired people live in low-income countries and 65 per cent of all people who are visually impaired are above 50 years of age.