Lions kick off White Cane Week

The World Health Organization has estimated that the number of blind people in the world could double in the next 25 years.

To combat the leading causes of blindness and assist in preserving vision, the Lions Club of Grand Cayman is launching its annual White Cane Week activities today through Sunday to heighten awareness and education about sight preservation and preventable blindness while raising funds to enable the club to continue its numerous sight programmes.

White Cane Week has been an annual project of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman for the past 27 years and through this programme the club has been able to bring relief to many people in the Cayman Islands who have had to endure the struggle of loss or impairment of sight.

There are numerous examples of people in this community who received assistance from the Club for eye related problems as children (or even as adults) and have been able to lead a normal and productive life.

It is estimated that 40 million people around the world are blind.

In the United States, approximately 750,000 people are blind and an additional 50,000 more will become blind each year, according to the National Federation of the Blind.

In most developed countries, glaucoma and diabetes are the leading causes of blindness. During White Cane Week, the Lions Club of Grand Cayman will be working to educate our community on the importance of proper eye health care.

Since the Club was chartered in 1972, its members have worked on a variety of sight related projects in the local community such as:

• Construction of the Lions Eye Clinic, which has provided affordable eye care to local residents for the last 15 years.

• Supply of various medical equipment for the eye clinic over the years.

• Annual sight screening of Year 1 and Year 7 students in all schools.

• Providing assistance to people in obtaining eye operations, spectacles and other eye-related medical assistance.

• Various educational activities on eye care

Proceeds from past White Cane Week and other fundraising events have supported the above projects over the years.

The club is arranging for the purchase of a new piece of equipment for the Eye Clinic, the Corneal Topographer. Dr. Pandit, the resident doctor at the clinic, has identified this as a necessary tool to increase his efficiency in diagnosing eye diseases. The funds raised this White Cane Week will be spent on this equipment.

During the course of White Cane Week, on 19 May, you will see Lions on the streets collecting funds. When you see them, please pause and give whatever you can to help someone in your community receive the gift of sight, a gift that many of us take for granted. I can assure you that these funds are put to good use for the benefit of needy persons in this community who have sight problems.

Our theme this year is Teaming Up for Community Service and we are committed to teaming up with you, the members of our community, to battle the effects of eye disease in the Cayman Islands. Do your part, and help Lions help others.