Make Vision Count
NALIS Eye Care Exhibition: Monday 30th October to Friday 10th November, 2017
UWI World Sight Day Public Symposium: Wednesday 1st November, 2017 (11:30 am – 2:00 pm)
Official Opening of the NALIS Eye Care Exhibition: Wednesday 1st November at 10:00am
Location: Audiovisual Room, NALIS, Port of Spain Library.
World Sight Day Eye Care Exhibition and UWI Public Symposium 1st Nov, 2017, NALIS
In observance of World Sight Day, the Volunteers for World Sight Day is proud to partner with the National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (NALIS) for an eye care exhibition which highlights eye health issues that impact lives everywhere. The eye care exhibition will also pay respects to the first Trinidadian ophthalmic surgeon, The Honourable Dr. Arthur Hutton McShine, who was Mayor of Port of Spain from 1921-1922. Dr. McShine, a former student of Queen’s Royal College, also served at the Co-operative Bank for 32 years, 28 of which he was President of the Board. The eye care exhibition will be located on the Ground Floor of the Port of Spain Library and will run from Monday 30th October – Friday 10th November, 2017.
The opening ceremony will take place in the audiovisual room at NALIS at 10:00 am on Wednesday 1st November, 2017. Mr. Anthony Smart, Chairman, First Citizen’s Bank, will deliver the feature address. The official exhibition launch will be immediately followed by a public symposium on eye care and blindness prevention, hosted by the Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, the University of the West Indies.
World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness which focuses global attention on blindness and vision impairment. The 2017 call to action is “Make Vision Count”, with emphasis on those who are especially vulnerable: the young, school children and the elderly. In Trinidad and Tobago, the major causes of avoidable blindness and vision impairment in these at risk groups include uncorrected refractive error, cataract, glaucoma and diabetes. According the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, 253 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 36 million are blind and 217 have low vision. About 89% of the world’s visually impaired live in low and middle-income countries. Eighty-two percent (82%) of people living with blindness are aged 50 and older, although this age group comprises only 20% of the world’s population. Eighty percent (80%) of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Here in Trinidad and Tobago, approximately 13,000 individuals are blind, with glaucoma (32%), cataract (29%) and diabetic retinopathy (13%) together accounting for 74% of blindness. Uncorrected refractive error accounts for 46% of moderate and severe visual impairment.
Since 2005, The Volunteers for World Sight Day, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Trinidad and Tobago, has worked to reverse these alarming statistics. Under the leadership of its chairperson, Dr. Desirée Murray, ophthalmologist and lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Ms. Del Philips, Assistant Professor, University of the Southern Caribbean, and Mr. Tayab Razac, medical representative Merck, this volunteer group coordinates meaningful events and activities which aid in the global effort to eliminate avoidable blindness. The Volunteers for World Sight Day was established to implement the agenda of the World Health Organization VISION 2020 initiative, by raising our nation’s awareness of healthy eye care practices through education and training initiatives, annual community events, collaboration with strategic partners and coordination with community groups in Trinidad and Tobago. This year, in lieu of the annual Walk for Sight, the volunteer group is proud to partner with the National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (NALIS) for an eye care exhibition at NALIS.
The exhibition places emphasis on the prevention of blindness (primary, secondary and tertiary prevention) and the rehabilitative services that are available for persons who are irreversibly blind. Representatives from PAVI (Persons Associated With Visual Impairment), the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the Ministry of Health School Vision and Hearing Screening Programme and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, will be on site on Wednesday 1st November, 2017, to interact with the public and provide useful information. Commemorative bookmarks will be distributed.
In addition, the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, will host a public symposium on eye health and blindness prevention in the audiovisual room at the NALIS Port of Spain Library from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm on 1st November. Topics to be discussed include cataract, glaucoma, pterygium, diabetic retinopathy, primary eye care, the red eye, prevention of falls in the elderly and prevention of eye injuries. This symposium is free and open to the public. We appreciate your support and look forward to your attendance at this event on November 1st.
Desirée Murray MB.BS (UWI), FRCOphth, MSc (Lond.) Lecturer in Ophthalmology, UWI