Oct 14, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Today is World Sight Day (WSD). A day that promotes advocacy to highlight the fact, that at least one billion people have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.
According to a release issued by the Ministry of Health yesterday, WSD became an official event in 2000 of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and is held annually on the second Thursday of October to provide a platform for organisations to encourage governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to actively support universal access to eye health.
Today, the 14th of October 2021, Guyana is joining the rest of the world to observe WSD under the theme: “Love Your Eyes” with the call to action of “Everyone Counts”.
Despite the knowledge that nearly everyone will experience an eye health issues in their lifetime, many people worldwide do not have access to eye care services. Hence, there is need for all of us to become aware of our own eye health, so that we can get our eyes tested for hidden diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Our eyes tell us so much about our general health and hence, we need to develop the habit of having them checked by trained eye care professionals. Everyone Counts is the call to action that we should take personal care and interest in ensuring our eyes are healthy. Make that pledge to ensure that you get involved in your eye health by getting your eyes screened. To ensure that Everyone Counts, we should reach out to all, especially those who are vulnerable to eye diseases. We also need to include everyone around us, including members of our families especially the elderly, persons with diabetes, underserved communities, women and children.
Over the past eight years the Department of Ophthalmology of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has been spearheading annual activities in commemoration of WSD under the guidance of Dr. Shailendra Sugrim. The department has been promoting eye health education and awareness promotion along with free screening activities in collaboration with various local and international stakeholders.
Due to the current pandemic, activities have been modified in keeping with the national guidelines for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 infection.
1. WORLD SIGHT DAY PUBLIC AWARENESS SESSION
Member of the Department of Ophthalmology will be disseminating public awareness information about Eye Health and Eye Care at the PHGC Foyer, East Street, on WSD from 8:30 to 12:00 hrs tomorrow.
2. PUBLIC AWARENESS FACE MASKS
Eye Care personnel across the country will be donning the WSD Face Mask in a pledge to spread awareness about Eye Health and Eye Care, whilst at the same time promoting the healthy practice of wearing face masks during the pandemic.
3. INTRODUCTION OF DIABETIC EYE CENTRE AT NATIONAL OPHTHALMOLOGY HOSPITAL, PORT MOURTANT
Over the past five years, the GPHC Department of Ophthalmology has been pioneering Diabetic Eye Screening to detect early disease so as to initiate treatment to prevent blindness from diabetes. Four years ago, the first Diabetic Eye Centre was set up as a pilot project at GPHC, with support from the World Diabetes Federation (WDF). In August 2020, with tireless support from Orbis International and Novartis, this programme expanded to establish the second Diabetic Eye Centre at the Enmore Polyclinic. “We are pleased to announce that in October 2021, the third Diabetic Eye Centre was recently functionalised at the National Ophthalmology Hospital in Port Mourant. At these centres, free Diabetic Eye Screening and, also General Eye Testing are now available,” noted Dr. Sugrim.
4. PUBLIC AWARENESS IN THE COMMUNITIES
The Ministry of Health Optometrists will be conducting Eye Health talks at the Vision Centres across the country and also at Health Centres.
5. OTHER ACTIVITIES
Local Optometrists and Optical Shops are also expected to be commemorating WSD from their various locations and the University of Guyana’s School of Optometry will conduct various commemorative activities on campus.
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