BBR chairman supports programme to reduce blindness

BBR chairman Nick Rumney has been supporting efforts by CooperVision, Optometry Giving Sight and India Vision Institute (IVI) to ensure underprivileged children in India receive eye examinations and free spectacles as needed.

Nick travelled to Hyderabad to attend the second World Congress of Optometry, being held from September 11-13 with the theme “Accessible, quality vision and eye health".

As part of the visit, Nick joined fellow optometrists at the Government Primary School, Gopanpally Tandy in Randareddy district where a programme to screen more than 22,000 children across India was launched.

Nick said: “It is rewarding to see these organisations are working so closely together to tackle the fact some 0.17% of children in India are blind with 33.3% caused by refractive errors which could so easily be corrected if screening is carried out.

“Some 25% of the world’s blind population live in India so this work is vital to reduce these alarming numbers and if spectacles are needed then these can also significantly improve quality of life for these children.

"I have always been a strong supporter of Optometry Giving Sight, the only global fund-raising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of unnecessary blindness and impaired vision, and have recently completed a successful and rewarding time as chair of the charity's UK National Committee.

“That’s why I have been so pleased to have been part of this latest initiative which started in 2016 when more than 34,000 children were screened and 2,900 free spectacles provided.

“I usually rely on my professional Dispensing Opticians to dispense spectacles at BBR but it was good to keep my hand in. It is so rewarding that these children are able to see properly for the first time thanks to this initiative.

“The 2017 One Bright Vision Child Health programme aims to build on this initial success and further screenings are planned for Mumbai in October and other cities in India,” he added.  

The biennial congress being held in Hyderabad is a World Council of Optometry initiative in partnership with its members the Asia Pacific Council of Optometry and the India Vision Institute and the aim of the 1,500 optometrists, ophthalmologists and public health professional attending is a 25% reduction in the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 2019.

Nick adds: “The World Congress provides optometrists, vision scientists, educators, researchers, students and other visual health professionals with an exciting programme including lectures and workshops in a variety of areas including ocular disease, binocular vision, glaucoma, low vision and contact lenses.

“As Vice-President of the European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO), I am delighted to have been invited to share my optometric expertise with colleagues from across the world and, more importantly, find a sustainable way to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness globally,” he added.

India Vision Institute (IVI) is an independent, not-for-profit registered trust established in 2012 to support and promote eye health awareness and prevent eye disease and blindness

CooperVision is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses

Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fund-raising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness 

Nick is pictured below with fellow optometrists at the Government Primary School, Gopanpally Tandy and top dispensing spectacles to one of the pupils. 

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