Last week, I celebrated World Sight Day in Mossman, Australia. As this year’s Lions World Sight Day focused on community vision screenings, I joined Australia Lions in providing vision screenings and eye health education for children, students and adults. Vision screenings are an important first step to preventing and treating eye disease.
It always gives me great joy to see how Lions in Australia and around the world work hard to lead the fight against blindness — not just on World Sight Day, but every single day.
Did you know that women are the fastest growing group of members in LCI? Women now represent 25% of Lions club members worldwide, and more women are looking for an opportunity to serve. According to a comprehensive study conducted by LCI, 58% of those who responded positively to the importance of service and their likelihood of volunteering were women.
As you invite new members to join your club, keep in mind that men and women make great members. Women can bring fresh ideas, new skills, and more hands for service to your club. The Family Membership Program is great way to involve women and give families a special discount on international dues.
Women can play an important role in expanding your membership and meeting the growing service challenges in a world that needs Lions more than ever.
While Lions act to Share The Vision and celebrate World Sight Day in October, we also observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all that Lions Clubs do to promote early detection, treatment and support for those impacted by breast cancer.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has given more than $3.6 million towards cancer-related grants, including more than $800,000 for women’s cancer support. Lions and LCIF team up to provide cancer screening equipment to hospitals, cancer clinic establishment and expansion, mobile screening units and more.
This includes a $75,000 standard grant to Venezuela District E-1 for a mammography machine. By obtaining this equipment and promoting mammograms on the radio and TV through public service announcements, the Lions in Venezuela have provided approximately 13,000 women with screenings per year through a Lions-owned cancer prevention center.
Another great example of Lions and LCIF making a difference for women is in District 351, Lebanon. There, Lions received a $66,000 standard grant from LCIF to equip three breast cancer screening clinics: two in Lebanon and one in Jordan. Combined, the clinics screen approximately 10,000 women each year for breast cancer.
How is your Lions club observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Lions Clubs International’s Support for Corneal Transplantation Contributes to Total Lifetime Net Benefit of Nearly $6 Billion
Washington, DC– (October 10, 2013) – Corneal transplants performed in the United States this year will result in nearly $6 billion in total net benefits over the lifetime of the recipients, according to a six-month study undertaken by the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA). Over half of all EBAA-member eye banks were founded by Lions Clubs; these eye banks will provide nearly 25,000 corneas for transplant this year, with an estimated net lifetime benefit of $3 billion*.
The study compared the medical cost of transplant procedures to the direct and indirect lifetime costs of the alternative – living with blindness or severe vision impairment. With a corneal transplant, an individual avoids the direct expenditures that come with vision loss, such as higher routine medical costs and long-term care costs, and the indirect costs of potential years of lost productivity to both the patients and their family caregivers.
Eye disorders are the fifth costliest to the U.S. economy after heart disease, cancer, emotional disorders and pulmonary conditions.
“Lions Clubs were instrumental to the establishment of America’s eye banking network”, said Kevin Corcoran, President and CEO of the Eye Bank Association of America. “Without their support, it’s almost inconceivable that we would now have an infrastructure that could provide over 70,000 corneas to people at home and abroad. Just as this study illustrates the value of eye banking in general, it clearly shows how the Lions’ impact continues to be felt today.”
The Eye Bank Association of America commissioned this study to determine the economic impact of corneal transplants. Researchers used previous years’ transplant numbers and census data to estimate total corneal transplants for the full 2013 calendar year.
The cost-benefit analysis depicted in the table below reveals that the lifetime benefit of the procedure is overwhelmingly greater than the costs of the surgery.
With a success rate greater than 95 percent, the one-hour procedure restores the patient’s sight and his or her quality of life. In fact, it’s one of the most common and least invasive transplant procedures. The EBAA study proves the value of the procedure and the economic benefit to the patient, family and society.
Corneal transplants also translate to direct federal and state government savings. This study assumed full retirement at age 65, so the net indirect cost savings is small for these patients, but the per-capita lifetime net medical benefits of $67,500 for patients age 65 or greater receiving corneal transplants in 2013 will save Medicare, Medicaid and patients a combined $2.4 billion nationally, and $1.2 billion among those communities served by Lions-affiliated eye banks.
For a full copy of the report, please contact EBAA at email@example.com.
About EBAA: The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), established in 1961, is the oldest transplant association in the nation and champions the restoration of sight through corneal transplantation. Over 80 member eye banks operate in the United States, Canada and Asia. These eye banks made possible more than 70,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants in 2012 and the opportunity to perform more transplants is significant. Aside from those suffering from infections or communicable diseases, virtually everyone is a universal donor. The function of corneal tissue is not dependent on blood type, age, strength of eyesight or the color of the eye. To learn more, visit www.restoresight.org
* Savings calculations are determined by multiplying the net lifetime benefit by the number of patients we served in 2012.
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