OAK BROOK, Illinois, USA, September 24, 2010 – Lions Clubs International will mark Lions World Sight Day in Osaka, Japan, October 7-8. Lions members from District 335-B, Japan, will sponsor several events throughout the city. Lions Clubs International President Sid Scruggs III and his wife Judy will take part in the events. This marks the first time that the major event of Lions World Sight Day will be held in Japan.
Lions will dedicate a new feature at the Ten-Noji Zoo to enable visually impaired and blind persons to better experience the zoo. President Scruggs will join in an inauguration ceremony of Lions Square with the Mayor of Osaka, Lion Kunio Hiramatsu.
“Lions members around the world and Lions Clubs International Foundation have long been champions for saving and restoring sight, but now we are increasing our programs aimed at the visually impaired.” said Sid Scruggs III, Lions Clubs International President. “With funds raised through Campaign SightFirst II, Lions will expand rehabilitation and low vision services. Through Lions World Sight Day, we are shining a light on this new area of focus.”
According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 124 million people in the world with low vision. About one-fourth of these people would benefit from low vision services. In many countries, availability of low vision services is very limited.
Lions are also providing adaptive equipment for a school for visually impaired and the Nippon Lighthouse for the Blind. President Scruggs will join Lions in handing over this equipment.
Lions have been awarded a SightFirst grant to purchase the adaptive equipment from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). SightFirst is Lions' most ambitious and most successful initiative. Through SightFirst, Lions have restored sight to 7.6 million people through cataract surgeries, prevented serious vision loss for 30 million people and improved eye care services for hundreds of millions.
World Sight Day is an international event, which was begun by Lions in 1998 and has since grown to include hundreds of eye health care non-governmental organizations worldwide.
Additional activities are planned locally and globally around Lions World Sight Day to educate communities about the need to conquer blindness and preserve sight. Lions Clubs International Foundation helped sponsor a congressional briefing before congress, which International President Scruggs attended. In Singapore, Lions clubs members will screen 480 senior citizens.
For Lions World Sight Day in the past, local Lions clubs provided diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma screenings for Native Americans on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, screened the vision children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, conducted cataract screenings and surgeries in Madagascar, screened high-risk populations for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in California, and scheduled 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 45,000 clubs in 206 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.
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International. LCIF was ranked by a Financial Times study as the #1 non-governmental organization with which to partner. Established in 1968, LCIF has been preventing avoidable blindness on a global scale for more than 20 years through the SightFirst program. Learn more at www.lcif.org.