ORBIS, Alcon To Provide Eye Care Education To Students

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Eye Care Education

October 11th marks World Sight Day -- a day set aside to recognize the tragic fact that someone in the world loses his or her sight every five seconds, and that every minute a child goes blind. For all the daunting statistics, one matters most of all: 75 percent of those who are blind are needlessly so.

In observance of World Sight Day 2007, ORBIS International and Alcon have produced "VISION for Children," an age-appropriate lesson plan for teachers about eye care and blindness prevention.

"Our eyes are the second most complex organ in our body. Eighty-five percent of what we learn is obtained through our eyes and over the course of a normal lifespan, our eyes process over 24 million images," said Geoffrey Holland, ORBIS executive director. "With 1.4 million children blind in the world many different approaches are needed to preserve and restore sight, which is why we believe that education, early intervention and access to quality eye care services are crucial so that all children may achieve their full potential."

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Healthy eyes are critical to the healthy development of any child. Loss of sight and low vision can lead to enormous personal, social and economic consequences that drastically affect the self-esteem, education, life choices and opportunities of otherwise healthy children.

"Alcon understands, personally and professionally, what vision impairment and blindness can mean to an individual, a family member or a friend. We are pleased to support this effort and expand our partnership with ORBIS that extends more than 25 years," said Cary Rayment, Alcon's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Together, we are offering teachers educational resources that can help students discover the value of their own eyes and the importance of working to preserve eye sight worldwide."

Teachers can promote eye health by encouraging their students to take basic steps to safeguard their eyesight and become advocates for sight. By visiting www.eyecareeducation.com, teachers can download for free the "VISION for Children" teacher's guide, which contains content and activities introducing children to the importance of sight -- for themselves and for those whom they have never met. Through these lessons, students will learn about the causes of blindness, how the eye works and how to keep it safe and healthy, and ways in which they can make a difference by helping eliminate avoidable blindness.

The idea for the teacher's guide comes from this year's World Sight Day theme, "VISION for Children." The theme was developed by VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global joint initiative of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Together with an international coalition of non-governmental organizations, professional associations, eye care institutions, and corporations, the group's purpose is to eliminate needless blindness worldwide by the year 2020.

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