Goa capital Panaji hosts walk in the dark campaign

ANI | Updated: Nov 20, 2017 16:45 IST

Panaji (Goa) [India], Nov.20 (ANI): The India Vision Institute (IVI) organised a 'Walk in the Dark' in Panaji this week to highlight eye health care and preventable blindness issues.

IVI is a not-for-profit organisation working towards preventing avoidable blindness.

Participating in the walk with blindfolds were around 50 visually-impaired children along with 400 others.

Notable guests included Tony Huber, Australian Consul General for Western India; Vinod Daniel, CEO, India Vision Institute; Vivek Mendonsa, Director, Lawrence and Mayo, Mumbai; Kishor Sarsolkar, MD, Mukta Drishti Foundation; Roser Mendonsa, National Association for the Blind, Goa; and Dr Pradeep Naik, Dean, Goa Medical College and Hospital.

The walk, which began from the Goa Pharmacy College, 18 June Road, was organized with the support of the Australian Consulate General, Mumbai and the Mukta Drishti Foundation, Goa in partnership with the Goa Medical College and the National Association for the Blind, Goa.

Tony Huber said, "The Australian Consulate General, Mumbai is pleased to be associated with IVI to organise this event through our Direct Aid Program. Today's walk sheds light on the issue of preventable blindness in India and the importance of optometrists. I understand in most cases refractive errors can be treated by a pair of spectacles prescribed by an Optometrist. Australia has experience and world class training to offer in this field, and can contribute to efforts to boost the number of qualified optometrists and tackle preventable blindness," he added.

Mr.Daniel noted, "There are over a hundred million Indians with some form of visual impairment and requiring spectacles. Over 80% of global visual impairment is preventable or treatable. Uncorrected refractive error is one of the major causes of blindness worldwide, and so too in India. There is an acute shortage of trained Optometrists in the country. India needs 110,000 Optometrists and currently we have about 45,000 of them."

"The economic burden of vision loss and eye disorders, especially from uncorrected refractive errors, is huge in India, and unless attended to at the earliest, will only add to the loss to the nation. There is a direct correlation between learning and vision and it is unfortunate that millions of Indian school children cannot achieve their full potential because they do not have access to a pair of glasses. Walk in the Dark is an IVI awareness initiative. Previous walks have been held in Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru," Mr Daniel added. (ANI)