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HomeminewsStronger Together World Sight Day Challenge: 1–31 October 2016

Stronger Together World Sight Day Challenge: 1–31 October 2016

Children around the world who are disadvantaged are to be the main beneficiaries of this year’s World Sight Day Challenge, an annual awareness campaign coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) as part of the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. This year’s campaign runs from 1–31 October. World Sight Day falls on Thursday 13 October.

The campaign is included on the official World Health Organization (WHO) calendar and supported by eye health organisations around the world including Optometry Giving Sight which has just launched its 10th annual fundraising effort for the cause.

“All of us can appreciate the importance of good vision – not just for ourselves and our families, but for the many children around the world who don’t have access to the vision care services they need,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, Global Chair of Optometry Giving Sight. “After all, if you can’t see, you can’t learn, and that condemns many to a life of poverty and disadvantage.”

Practice Participation

For the past 10 years, thousands of optometrists, their staff, patients, students and colleagues in industry have all taken the World Sight Day Challenge by raising funds to help eliminate the backlog of uncorrected refractive error, estimated to affect more than 600 million people.

“It’s simple and fun to do,” said Clive Miller, Global CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “Practices, schools and companies can involve their staff, friends, family and colleagues in fundraising activities throughout September and October; or they can visit our website and make a personal, practice or company donation.
“We have materials to help promote your involvement, lots of fun fundraising ideas, and information that you can share that shows how your donations are having an impact on the lives of people in need.”

Amanda Rungis from Sure Eye Care, West Gosford has been participating in the World Sight Day Challenge since 2008. Four years ago, Amanda and her husband Gordon started what has now become a growing annual fundraising event called “Highballs for Eyeballs”.

“Initially, Highballs for Eyeballs was to get people to come in, have a drink and donate some money”, said Mr. Rungis. “The response was so positive that the event has continued and now includes live auctions, silent auctions, a balloon raffle and even a coin toss”.

“Blindness is something I have personal experience with,” said Ms. Rungis. “My grandfather went blind. I saw the devastating effect it had on things like his freedom. So for me, avoidable blindness is particularly sad. Imagine not being able to work or being dependent on someone, purely just because you didn’t have access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

“I really encourage all practices to participate in the World Sight Day Challenge. It’s a great program. Our staff loves it; we have a great response from everyone about it,” she said.

Support the Campaign

Optometry Giving Sight has launched its 10th annual fundraising campaign to help raise funds for people who are needlessly blind or vision impaired simply because they can’t access an eye exam and vision care provided by an optometrist.

To donate, or pledge your participation select one a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Award level at www.givingsight.org or call 1300 88 10 73.

How donations can help:
• $50 can help provide a study kit to an optometry student
• $100 can help provide 20 people with access to an eye exam and glasses
• $300 can help to provide a child size trial frame for a community based vision centre
• $1200 could pay a month’s salary for an optometrist.

Funds raised from World Sight Day will support Our Children’s Vision – a global initiative of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision For Life / Essilor, supported by Optometry Giving Sight. The initiative aims for every child, everywhere to have access to eye care.

The Story of Socheata

An eye examination, provided to 17-year-old Socheata in her final year of studies at a Cambodian high school has opened up news possibilities for her future.

“When I was in grade 11, I was really struggling to see,” said Socheata. “I found trying to see or read long distance an immense struggle, especially while the teacher was writing on the board. Once I received my spectacles I started to use them often for travelling to school, especially for school time and doing house work. I felt comfortable wearing my glasses and was no longer getting dizzy or suffering from headaches from straining my eyes.”

The School Eye Health program in Cambodia, which is co-funded by Optometry Giving Sight and implemented by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, has so far provided eye health services to 19,764 students and teachers and prescribed 2,225 spectacles at 10 schools. It also provided information about the importance of professional eye checks, a message Socheata now frequently shares with her friends, relatives and community.