World Sight Day to be observed today

Kathmandu, October 7

Nepal will be observing World Sight Day tomorrow with the theme ‘eye care for all’.

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 Organization, 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.

According to Epidemiology of blindness in Nepal, 2012, Nepal has a population of an estimated 220,000 persons (who cannot count fingers from a distance of six metres), 93,400 (who cannot count fingers from a distance of three metres) and 2.5 per cent of people (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.

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.

‘Ensure eye care access for all’

KATHMANDU: World Health Organization South-East Asia has emphasised on the need to reduce avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

“We must ensure universal access to comprehensive eye care services. There is a need to review and reinforce existing measures so that nobody suffers from visual impairment and those with unavoidable vision loss can still achieve their full potential,” a press statement by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia on the World Sight Day stated.

South-East Asia has around 140 million visually-impaired people. “Implementing simple measures such as eye care services in schools can help detect and correct refractive errors in children. Quality surgical procedures can help cataract patients recover very quickly,” she said.