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Eyes focus on World Sight Day

Media Release

8 October 2003

Eyes focus on World Sight Day

AUCKLAND - Many eyes will be focused on one spot as The New Zealand Association of Optometrists (NZAO) starts its national conference on World Sight Day, Thursday, October 9.

World Sight Day is an annual event focusing on the problem of global blindness; it aims to raise public awareness around the world about the prevention and treatment of loss of vision.

An estimated 180 million people world-wide are visually disabled. Of those, between 40 and 45 million persons are blind. Due to growing populations and ageing, these numbers are expected to double by the year 2020 making a colossal human tragedy even worse, stalling development and denying a basic human right.

"Every five seconds one person in the world goes blind. One child goes blind every minute. It is estimated that more than seven million people become blind every year," says Dr Lesley Frederikson, national director of NZAO.

"We have more than 250 optometrists gathering in Auckland to listen and learn from a number of eye-health specialists from all over New Zealand.

"We also have international guests, including Dr Carl Jacobsen, manager of the prestigious
Berkerley Medical Eye Services Clinic, San Francisco and Dr Daryl Guest, an optometrist who specialises in rural and remote care and works in Penguin, Tasmania.

"World Sight Day is a good reminder to have your eyes checked by an optometrist if you haven't done so in a while," said Dr Frederikson.

"Many eye problems can be prevented or treated, if caught early."

The NZAO national conference runs from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 October.


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