World Sight Day: an international day of awareness of avoidable blindness

In addition to supporting the activity of mbers, Vision 2020 Australia undertook activity of its own including a national advocacy mail out sent to all federal and Victoria parliamentarians containing key messages, a World Sight Day badge to wear on the day and two case studies; John Egglestone, a 71 year old Victorian man with glaucoma and Meas Yath, a 66 year old Cambodian woman who received sight-restoring cataract surgery as a result of work by the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium.As there was no global the this year, Vision 2020 Australia used the day to focus on family history and the increased risk if a serious eye condition such as glaucoma or aged-related macular degeneration exists in their family history for the Vision Initiative program.A media picture opportunity was set up in Melbourne’s Parliament House Gardens on the day with the Victoria health minister David Davis. The minister was pictured with three guide dogs-in-training from Guide Dogs Victoria as well as a powerful case study.Ayse Bavage, 38, was diagnosed with glaucoma when she was 28 and was not aware until recently of how extensively glaucoma featured in her family. Her mother, grandmother, great aunt and her second cousin all have glaucoma making her two young children eight times more likely to develop the disease. Ayse’s story serves as critical rinder about the importance of regular eye tests to save your sight. Nationally the direct cost of treating eye disease in 2009 is estimated at $2.98 billion. In Victoria, direct costs are estimated at $652 million, approximately a quarter of the national cost, Mr Davis said. Improving eye sight can improve health outcomes. To be as healthy as we can be, we need a strong focus on prevention, he said.Vision 2020 Australia also distributed a media release to print, television, radio, online and eye-health tmedia. The media release encouraged people to start talking about eye health with their parents and grandparents as having all the facts is a powerful tool when it comes to tackling vision loss and blindness.Radio interviews were also given with several different stations including: ABC 666 in Canberra, ABC 774 in Melbourne, Radio National’s ‘Life Matters’ program, and Vision Australia’s ‘Talking Vision’ program.Ayse Bavage, ma and Jack Bavage, David Davis and Jan Field with the three guide dogs

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