Johor celebrated World Sight Day with objectives to foster interest and build impact at the community level
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October to focus on global attention on blindness and visual impairment. It is part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
Besides aiming to create awareness within the community regarding sight threatening eye conditions and their prevention and treatment, it also aims to promote sustainable eye health by empowering the community and by marketing eye health services provided by the public and private sectors.
Free eye screenings were done including visual acuity, inter ocular pressure and optic nerve examination. Diabetic eye-disease, cataract and glaucoma were also screened for each member of the public. At the end of the examination, all participants had consultations with a doctor. Besides that, there were health related talks by ophthalmologists, a pharmacist and a dietician, covering topics such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, how to instil eye-drops and diet care in diabetics. There were eye related posters, video and booth presentations too.
WHO estimated that in 2010 a total of 285 million people in the world were visually impaired, 39 million were blind and 245 million were found to have severe to moderately low vision. Of this number, 80% were preventable or curable. Globally, chronic eye-disease is the main cause of vision loss.
In Malaysia, data obtained from the National Eye Survey (NES II) in 2014 estimated that among the population aged 50 years and above, sixty thousand were blind (60% of which were preventable) and three hundred and fifty thousand (350,000) had severe to moderate low vision (80% of which were preventable). The most common cause of blindness is cataracts.
This is the first time during the WSD celebrations that preschool children underwent eye screening because there is an increasing trend in uncorrected refractive error among preschool children. This is most likely secondary to increased time spent using smart phones and tablets amongst the preschool children as opposed to being outdoors.
The celebrations in Johor were officiated by Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Pemaisuri Johor.