When last did you have your eyes tested? In celebration of World Sight Day (12 October), free eye tests are being offered around South Africa.
Multinational optical and optoelectronic technology company, ZEISS, has partnered with the South African Optometric Association (SAOA) to celebrate World Sight Day by conducting free screening and eye testing.
These tests are being offered in various communities in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng.
Travelling mobile optometry units
In line with World Sight Day’s theme for this year, #Makevisioncount, SAOA expects to test more than 1 000 people in the selected regions.
Mobile units – manned by optometrists, 35 optometric students and six volunteer optometrists – will travel to the various regions to conduct screening and eye tests.
The communities to be visited include Grace Bible church in Soweto, Gauteng; The Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal; the Grace Bible Church in Polokwane; and Kgabane Primary School in the Free State where children will be screened in this region.
“We urge members of the communities we intend to visit to make sure they get their eyes tested and encourage other family members to do so too,” says Optometrist and SAOA Member Liaison Officer, Lucky Nkosi.
In South Africa, an estimated 80% of blind people could have saved their sight with early intervention and the correct treatment
Four out of five cases of blindness could be avoided
ZEISS Vision South Africa’s Commercial Manager Vesta Slabbert, says conducting eye tests on people who have limited access to medical services is critical in addressing avoidable blindness.
“According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, four out of five of the world’s blind are avoidably so. This regrettable statistic is similar for South Africa where an estimated 80% of people are avoidably blind, with most them living in rural areas.
“Avoidable blindness differs from region to region, but some of the causes include cataract, refractive error, trachoma, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and childhood blindness. With regular eye tests and the correct treatment, some of these conditions can be prevented or reversed.”
Slabbert says World Sight Day forms part of Eye Care Awareness Month, which runs from 23 September to 18 October.
“We are proud to be associated with the SAOA initiative as it takes eye testing and screenings to people who do not necessarily have the resources to access health care services. Only about 20% of South Africa’s population has access to private health care – so initiatives such as these can be life-changing for people who don’t have a same access.”
Sources: ZEISS and South African Optometric Association (SAOA)
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