Communications Coordinator, LCIF
OAK BROOK, Illinois, USA, September 27, 2012 – Lions Clubs International will mark the 15th annual Lions World Sight Day in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 10-11, 2012. Lions Clubs International President Wayne A. Madden and other Lions leaders will take part in the events.
The focus of this year’s Lions World Sight Day is on diabetic retinopathy and its relationship to blindness. Lions in Turkey will hold public eye screenings, focusing on diabetic eye disease detection, at the Bayrampasa Eye Care Hospital and in Idealtepe Eye Care Center. If diabetic retinopathy or other eye diseases are discovered, follow-up care will be provided.
Additionally, a press conference will be held on diabetic eye disease. Participating will include Turkish eye specialists, representatives of the Turkish Diabetes Association, Lions leadership and representatives from the World Health Organization.
“Lions and Lions Clubs International Foundation are committed to preventing blindness, and Lions World Sight Day exemplifies this commitment,” said Lions President Madden. “Lions in Turkey are very active in fighting diabetic eye disease and providing education to those in need. By working together, we can help more people and prevent blindness from diabetes-related eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy.”
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, damaging eyesight and potentially resulting in blindness. Once vision is lost from diabetic retinopathy, it cannot be restored. When diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed early, progression of the disease and loss of vision can be reduced by 90 percent with control of diabetes and ongoing diabetic retinopathy treatment.
The number of people at risk for diabetic retinopathy is on the rise. Currently more than 346 million people have diabetes worldwide. Nearly half of all people with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy during their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization.
As part of Lions World Sight Day, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has awarded Lions in Turkey a SightFirst grant to support the purchase of diabetic retinopathy treatment equipment. SightFirst is Lions' most ambitious and successful initiative funded through LCIF. It has made quality eye care accessible to those who most need it since it was founded in 1990.
To date, SightFirst has approved US$2.8 million for 22 diabetic retinopathy projects in 11 countries where diabetic retinopathy is a significant public health concern. These comprehensive projects have included equipment upgrades, eye care personnel training, public education and screening programs, and low vision service support.
World Sight Day is an international event launched by Lions in 1998 to recognize the importance of fighting preventable blindness globally. The event has grown to include hundreds of eye health care non-governmental organizations worldwide. In recent years, Lions have marked Lions World Sight Day by screening vision and providing eyeglasses to children, elderly and migrant workers at the inauguration of the Lions Low Vision Clinic at the Shenzhen Disabled Persons Federation; providing diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma screenings for Native Americans on the Navajo Nation in Arizona; screening the vision of children in Bosnia and Herzegovina; conducting cataract screenings and surgeries in Madagascar; and scheduling programs to educate community members about what can be done to prevent vision loss in countries around the world.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.35 million members in 46,000 clubs in 207 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. Learn more about www.lionsclubs.org.
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International. Established in 1968, LCIF has been preventing avoidable blindness on a global scale for more than 20 years through the SightFirst program. Lions are investing US$415 million in SightFirst and have helped to restore the sight of 30 million people worldwide. Learn more at www.lcif.org.