GREAT NECK, NY – The North Shore-LIJ Health System announced today that 113 adults were given free eye screenings on Thursday at Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital (MEETH), Syosset Hospital and Staten Island University Hospital as part of World Sight Day. The screenings were done in partnership with Sightsavers, a non-profit group that is dedicated to trying to end avoidable blindness.
The goal of World Sight Day is to make people more aware of eye health issues. About 285 million people across the globe are either blind or have a low level of vision, according to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. That group also notes though that 80 percent of vision issues are preventable.
Richard Braunstein, MD, vice president of ophthalmology services for the North Shore-LIJ Health System, said routine eye exams are critical to preventing blindness and other eye impairments.
“Although any change in vision can be a sign of a potentially serious eye problem, an acute loss of vision is a reason for people to seek immediate medical attention,” Dr. Braunstein said.
Some things people can do to try to prevent potential eye health problems include being aware of their family’s history of eye disease, wearing sunglasses, having a healthy diet, controlling their blood pressure and avoiding smoking, Dr. Braunstein said.
World Sight Day, which started in 1998, is held on the second Thursday in October. One of the aims of this global awareness day is to increase funding for blindness and eye disease prevention efforts.
This year’s theme is universal eye health with a call for people to get their regular eye exams. World Sight Day this year is being held in conjunction with the start of a new World Health Organization initiative to eradicate avoidable blindness by 2020.