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Collecting Old Specs For World Sight Day 2000

Old Specs Being Collected To Commemorate Lions World Sight Day 2000

To mark Lions World Sight Day on Thursday 12 October, Lions Clubs New Zealand with the support of OPSM, is collecting old eyeglasses.

New Zealanders are being encouraged to dig-out their unwanted specs and donate them at their nearest OPSM outlet. All the glasses collected will be forwarded to one of the Lions recycling collection units in Christchurch or Auckland, where glasses are cleaned, graded, labelled and packaged for distribution to developing countries.

The World Health Organisation estimates that the eyesight of one-fourth of the world's population can be improved through the use of corrective lenses. Unfortunately for many, a pair of glasses is both unaffordable and inaccessible. In developing countries, an eye exam costs as much as one month's wages, and a single doctor may serve a community of hundreds of thousands of people.

Most of the glasses collected in New Zealand will go to VOSO (the Voluntary Ophthalmic Service Overseas) for the Pacific Islands. Each year VOSO provide eyesight screening, glasses and eye operations to communities in need throughout the Pacific. In the year to June 2000, 7,260 people were screened, 6,200 pairs of glasses distributed and 201 operations performed.

Thanks to the support of OPSM, this is the first year that Lions World Sight Day will be commemorated on a national level in New Zealand. As one of its core four activities (sight, health, youth and disabilities) Lions do, however, support sight-related activities throughout the year, including collecting for the New Zealand Foundation for the Blind and Lions own international SightFirst programme.

Nearly 80% of the blindness in the world is preventable or reversible. The World Health Organisation estimates that 45 million people around the world are blind, and that numbers could double in the next 25 years without increased intervention from organisation such as Lions Clubs International.

In 1990, Lions established SightFirst, a US $140 million global initiative to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness. To date Lions have funded 77 eye clinics and hospitals, provided more than 2.5 million cataract surgeries, treated 3.3 million people to prevent river blindness and screened more than six million patients for eye disease.

To further strengthen Lions contribution to this world health problem Lions established World Sight Day in 1998 to educate the world about preventable and reversible blindness and the importance of proper eye care.

Lions World Sight Day is sponsored by Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, which is a global partnership of United Nations agencies, governments, philanthropic institutions, eye care organisations, health professionals and individuals working to eliminate preventable blindness by the year 2020.

This year it is being marked internationally by a massive eye photoscreening of 2,000 pre-verbal children in Beijing, China - the first time the Chinese government has invited a service organisation to assist its people on such a large scale.

Help Lions and OPSM to mark Lions World Sight Day in New Zealand. Dig-out any unwanted prescription and non-prescription glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses.

In the absence of an OPSM outlet being nearby, contact your local Lions club to donate your old glasses or to find out other ways you can support SightFirst.

(end)

For further information contact: Tracy Dillimore, Network Communications on 04 382 6606 or 025 405 595 or visit www.lionsclubs.org

Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organisation, with 1.4 million members in 185 countries and territories around the world. In New Zealand there are over 500 clubs with 14,000 members - the highest membership per head of population in the world. Lions Clubs throughout the country have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours in improving conditions for their local communities. Worldwide the organisation has shown a strong commitment to preserving sight, promoting health, overcoming disabilities and serving youth.


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