Follow us on:

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube


More elderly benefit from free eye screening |23 August 2021

More elderly benefit from free eye screening

By Laura Pillay


The Lions Clubs of Seychelles and partners successfully conducted free eye screenings for the residents of the English River elderly home on Saturday.

The screening is the third conducted by the clubs as part of a nationwide project which is to touch all the elderly homes across the country.

For Saturday’s event, the team of professionals from Optic Seychelles and five-member strong team representing different arms of the Lions Clubs, were ready to receive the first of 10 residents for the eye-screening procedure by 7.30am. By 11.30am the screenings were concluded, and nine residents had been tested.

Based upon the screening results, four residents have been advised that they will need glasses, while two have been referred for full check-ups at the clinic.

District officer for vision and sight for kids Dharam Vir Sharma affirmed that the clubs will provide glasses to the residents in need.

“Vision is the most important part of our lives, and life is beautiful if your vision is good. So, the Lions of Seychelles which comprises four Lions clubs, namely Melvyn Jones, Seychelles Centennial Women’s Lions Club, Rising Lions and Lions Club, we have been doing a nationwide project where we are focusing on vision as one the areas of improvement in our lives, and we have decided that this will be covering all the elderly homes,” said Mr Sharma.

“We have done two homes already, whereby we are screening the elderly residents, and depending on the outcome of the examinations and screenings, we have been providing them free glasses. So we have done around 40 residents so far, in the elderly homes of Plaisance followed by La Retraite. After doing those screenings of the 40 people, around 18 people we found needed glasses so we got the glasses and it was distributed last month. So we finished two and now we wanted to move to the next home, which was English River, something which people have been requesting us,” Mr Sharma explained.

The project is in line with the United Nations’ first-ever resolution on vision, which seeks to help at least 1.1 billion people with vision impairment who currently lack eye services by 2030. The ‘Vision for Everyone’ resolution, sponsored by Bangladesh, Antigua and Ireland, and co-sponsored by over 100 countries, was adopted on Friday July 23, 2021 by consensus by the world body.

“Statistics show that around 2 billion people in the world today are having health issues with their eyesight, and 1.1 billion people have already lost their eyesight because we did not treat them on time. If this trend continues, by 2050, 50 percent of the world will be having vision problems. This is very, very alarming. It is time the whole world wakes up, all the governments, all the partners, everybody tries to work on vision as one of the goals for going forward. The UN has also decided that by 2030, they want to treat nearly one billion people for eyesight and vision-related impairments which can be addressed.

“I think, therefore, it is a project which is in the right direction, and I hope that we can all work together, because it affects all of us. If an individual’s eyesight is not good, it affects his/her productivity. People cannot work if their eyesight is not good, so their life will be very difficult,” Mr Sharma added.

In order to realise the project, the Lions family group has partnered with local organisations including Optic Seychelles who contribute their expertise and screenings, as well as the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) who has agreed to donate free glasses for all the residents in need. Other partners, namely, the National Council for the Elderly, the Health Care Agency (HCA), and the department of ophthalmology of the Ministry of Health are also instrumental to the success of the project.

Director for elderly within the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family Liza Cadeau expressed, on behalf of the ministry, thanks to all the partners for their support and for having consideration for the elderly citizens.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic, our elderly citizens are not able to go for their treatments, and this will be most helpful in helping to detect any sight impairments. As we know, the older we get, the more likely our eyesight is likely to deteriorate, so, a great big thank you from us at the ministry, and on behalf of the residents as well,” Ms Cadeau stated.

Once all elderly homes are covered, the clubs intend to take the project a step further, through free screenings of about 12,000 students across primary schools. The three-year project will see screenings at eight schools each year.

It must be noted that the clubs have also realised such projects in the past. In 2014, a total of 20,000 persons were screened, and of them, 1,800 were given free glasses. Two cataract camps have also been conducted successfully with the support of the Ministry of Health and professional specialists from overseas and over 500 cataracts procedures performed, something which the club hopes to repeat in the near future.

As the clubs move forward with their project, it is calling out to other partners and sponsors to join them in sponsoring the glasses, the costliest component of the project.

To add some extra cheer to the residents’ day, the club members also presented individual gift hampers to the residents.

The accompanying photographs show some highlights of Saturday’s event.


Photos by Louis Toussaint



More news