Not Just Another Day to Save Sight Day after day, Lions do eye screenings, raise awareness of eye disease and save sight. On one day each year they make a special effort to preserve vision and highlight the role of Lions as Knights of the Blind. Lions World Sight Day in 2012 was held Oct. 10-11. The central event was in Istanbul, Turkey. International President Wayne A. Madden led the 15th international celebration of World Sight Day. Over the two-day event, Lions Clubs International and LCIF partnered with the Lions of Turkey to focus attention on diabetes and diabetic retinopathy and their relationship to blindness. Lions in Turkey conducted free eye screenings at Lions Bayrampasa Eye Care Hospital and presented important new equipment, made possible by a grant from LCIF. Screenings were also held at Idealtepe Eye Care Centers, and an updated facility was officially opened in Istanbul. Madden detailed Lions’ sight-saving efforts at a press conference. Also speaking were representatives from Bayrampasa Eye Hospital, Istanbul University, the Turkish Diabetes Association and Essilor, which sponsored the eye screening activities. “Lions and Lions Clubs International Foundation are committed to preventing blindness, and Lions World Sight Day exemplifies this commitment,” said Madden. “Lions in Turkey are also actively fighting diabetic eye disease and providing education to those in danger of losing their sight. By working together with the local Lions in Turkey, we can help more people and prevent blindness from diabetes-related eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.” Lions Clubs International launched World Sight Day in October 1988 to recognize the importance of eradicating preventable blindness around the world. Every year since then, Lions have held major events in October including vision, cataract, diabetes and glaucoma screenings, collections of used eyeglasses for recycling and distribution and educational programs. Lions worldwide plan activities for World Sight Day based on their local needs. Lions in Chennai, India, screened 4,800 students and found that 10 percent of these students needed glasses or other vision services. In Jakarta, Indonesia, Lions provided free vision screenings to 5,000 students in 15 elementary schools. Lions in Nigeria also screened students and provided free glasses and medical assistance to students and adults. A number of clubs in the United Kingdom organized community walks to call attention to the importance of maintaining vision and fighting against blindness. Blind walkers were assisted by their guide dogs while other walkers, who were not blind, wore blindfolds so that they could gain some understanding of what it is like to be blind. In Saint Lucia, Lions visited classrooms to discuss the causes of blindness and what can be done to prevent blindness, and in Minnesota, Lions held their annual White Cane Day to educate the public and raise money for the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank.
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