Letters to the Editor: Sight a gift from God

The Lions Club of Grand Cayman
launched its annual White Cane Week Sight Awareness Campaign on Sunday with a
church service at the Church of Christ Batabano Road, West Bay. 

Lions have heeded the call of The
World Health Organization VISION2020: The Right to Sight program, which
encourages all persons to work toward the elimination of avoidable
blindness.  According to Sightsavers
International a United Kingdom based non-governmental organisation, the number
of blind persons in the world in 2000 was 44 million and this number is
expected to reach 76 million by 2020, if no action is taken to reduce

This is indeed a most startling
piece of news. As we move forward to meet this challenge we wish to express our
sincere gratitude to all the eye doctors who have assisted and continue to
assist with our many eye projects including our awareness programme, many of
whom provided articles for publication during this campaign. We encourage you
to also get on board.

My theme as the 2009 – 2010 president
of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman is ‘Honouring Our Past. Creating History.
Building Our Future’. This is most fitting as the club has had a long history
of involvement with sight programmes ever since being established in the Cayman
Islands in 1972. Establishment of the Lions Eye Clinic, which is a part of the
Health Services Authority, is one of our club’s major achievements. In 2009
over 4,000 patients passed through it doors. Another of our major projects is
the annual sight screening exercise which is conducted in all schools within
the Cayman Islands, including Cayman Brac, for Years 1 and 6 students. If a
student goes through school from kindergarten to graduation, they would have
seen an eye specialist twice, courtesy of the Lions Club.

Statistics show that almost 20 per cent
of the students tested failed the basic sight exams and were referred for
further testing, many were also found to be having difficulty with school work.
Following the acquisition of glasses remarkable improvements were seen. This
vital sight project seeks to empower the young for the future. In addition to
testing eyes, Lions are committed to rendering assistance to those students who
need glasses but are unable to purchase them. We also assist other needy
persons in the community with vision care.

Lions will be out and about on
Saturday, 9 May 9, seeking your assistance to fund our various sight
programmes, please give generously. This year some of the funds raised will be
used to purchase a Retinomax K-Plus 3 Hand-Held Auto Refractor/Keratometer, a
medical instrument used primarily to: Diagnose the presence of astigmatism , determine
its degree of impact and required treatment. Astigmatism is a condition of the
eye in which the cornea or lens is misshapen resulting in vision problems.

Our eyesight is a precious gift
from God and must be treated as such.  We
implore each and every citizen to join us to raise the awareness of good vision
care and to make a difference in the lives of those without sight.

Debbie Ebanks

President, Lions Club of Grand