“At Bausch + Lomb, our mission is to help people see better, to live better. When we look back at this first year, all that we’ve learned and all that we’ve accomplished—we’re confident that together with Lions Clubs and LCIF, our efforts will help eye care institutions positively impact children, parents and the communities they serve,” said Rick Heinick, Corporate Vice President, Global Human Resources and Transformation at Bausch + Lomb.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with a cataract in one or both eyes. This condition is known as pediatric cataract, and can lead to severe vision loss—or even blindness. But not only is pediatric cataract treatable, it is often preventable. Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) are partnering on the Pediatric Cataract Initiative to identify, fund and promote innovative methods of overcoming pediatric cataract for the long-term benefit of children, their families and their communities.
Launched in June 2010, the Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI) is the first dedicated global effort aimed at preventing and treating cataract in children. Bausch + Lomb has awarded LCIF with a US$350,000 grant to launch this partnership program. The pilot year’s capacity-building grant will select a partner institution in China, where at least 40,000 children are estimated to suffer from pediatric cataract. When babies and children are identified and successfully treated with the proper follow-up care, many, if not all, will grow into fully sighted adults requiring minimal additional vision correction.
PCI is also funding basic research initiatives aimed at better understanding the causes of pediatric cataract and/or its treatment. The first two research grants of US$50,000 each are focusing on this issue in Nepal (and nearby states in India) and Nigeria. An estimated 1.4 million children are blind worldwide, 1 million of whom live in Asia and 300,000 in Africa. The prevalence of pediatric cataract in developing countries can be 10 times more common than in developed nations.
After a busy pilot year, LCIF and Bausch + Lomb will be helping people see, by continuing the important work of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative into 2012.
From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives
With October being “Sharing the Vision” month, the Keelung Hsin I Lions Club of District 300-F in Taiwan organized a vision screening project for children. Vision is an important part for growth and development. Having vision problems can hinder a child’s ability to perform well in school. The Sharing the Vision Campaign, part of the Centennial Service Challenge, aims to serve 25 million people through vision projects –with a special goal of benefitting 10 million children with eye care.Lions can work towards the CSC goal of serving 100 million by 2017 through youth, vision, hunger and environmental projects. Clubs are asked to report their activities on MyLCI. We also want to encourage Lions to share pictures from their projects on Facebook and other social media sites. Use the hashtag #LIONS100 so that other Lions can see how your club is making an impact.
How are your projects helping children in need?
With World Sight Day taking place earlier this month, I was thinking about the amazing accomplishments that Lions and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) have been able to achieve together. The theme of World Sight Day this year was “No More Preventable Blindness,” which is something we have been working towards for years by fighting diseases through SightFirst and working with partners to make a difference.
Our Sight for Kids partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies (JJVCC) is a great example of what can be achieved. The Sight for Kids program has screened the vision of more than 20 million schoolchildren in Asia Pacific who might not have received a vision screening otherwise. And, the partnership program provides glasses and follow-up care as needed, all for free to students in need.
I am proud to share with you that we have expanded Sight for Kids beyond Asia Pacific into Kenya and Turkey. You can watch a new video online to learn more about Sight for Kids and about our expansion into these two new countries. Our partnership program really works, and I am very happy about this expansion.
I want to encourage you to continue sight-saving efforts through your club, your district, and beyond. Every project helps reduce preventable blindness and save sight, just like every donation to LCIF can help make a difference.
Barry J. Palmer
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation
If you could save a child’s sight with the press of a button, wouldn’t you?
That’s the idea behind Lions KidSight USA, a new national initiative announced by Lions in the United States. Lions KidSight USA was launched to help ensure that children between the ages of six months and six years receive vision screening and professional follow-up care when needed.
To accomplish this, KidSight USA will work with new and existing screening programs to get more handheld screening devices into the hands of Lions—and more kids in front of them.
“KidSight USA is an important national initiative that will help families protect the eye health of their children,” said International President Joe Preston. “It builds on our proud history of saving sight and our belief that all children deserve to see the world clearly. With the help of Lions, we hope they will.”
Lions KidSight USA wants to reach kids early because some vision problems can become permanent by age seven. But vision issues can be easily detected with hand-held screening devices that even generate the results on-site. With only a few minutes of training, Lions and volunteers can learn to screen the vision of a child.Lions in the U.S. currently screen more than 500,000 kids per year through state and local programs often known as “KidSight.” Lions KidSight USA wants to expand the number of screening programs so Lions can change the lives of even more children around the country.
Before we left Iceland, we had the great honor of meeting with President Ólafur Grímsson of Iceland at his official residence, Bessastadir. The president greeted Joni and me and the leaders of Lions in Iceland and then we sat down to discuss how Lions have been—and will continue to contribute to—making a difference in their community.
President Grímsson commended Lions for strengthening the commitment to voluntary work and cooperation in his country. He remembered how Lions were organized in Iceland in 1951, at a period when there were a number of divisive issues in the country. He said that Lions reached out to people in different communities, with different perspectives and from opposing camps and helped to bring them all together.
He also recognized Lions for their support of the University Hospital and for the other important Lions projects, many of which we visited.
We spent a productive hour talking with President Grímsson about Lions activities around the world, needs for community support in Iceland and the importance of volunteers everywhere.
Thank you to the Lions of Iceland for arranging the visit, for organizing Lions World Sight Day and for their many projects that we visited that contribute to improving the life of everyone.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.
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