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World Sight Day 2004 raises awareness

DNIS News Network - World Sight Day observed on October 14.

Different events were organised throughout the world to mark World Sight Day on October 14. The day aims to raise awareness of the fact that 80 per cent of the world's blindness could be prevented or cured, and to encourage governments and others to invest in global blindness prevention programmes.

'Vision 2020: The right to sight' is a global initiative, launched in 1999, which aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020. Vision 2020 programmes have been adopted in more than 40 countries worldwide.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the occasion, there are more than 11 million blind people in India and cataracts account for 62 per cent of blindness in India.

The report also highlighted the new initiatives taken under the National Programme for Control of Blindness, such as development of facilities for all leading causes of blindness, control of childhood blindness and reaching under-served communities. It also outlined the break-up of revised grants that will be received by NGOs and Panchayats under the programme.

The report stressed the need for eye donation. The report states that there is a need for 1 lakh donated eyes every year in India but at present only 20,000 eyes are donated per year.