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Over 500 participate in ‘Walk in the Dark’ at Victoria Memorial to raise awareness about avoidable blindness

Hundreds marched today at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata’s iconic monument, to raise awareness about, and prevent avoidable blindness.

The march, ‘Walk in the Dark’, was led by Australia’s High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu, Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) Secretary and Curator Dr Jayanta Sengupta, Srenik Sett, and India Vision Institute (IVI) CEO Vinod Daniel, among several other prominent citizens including Dibyendu Barua, Gurbux Singh, Victor Banerjee, Shanu Nag and Cecil Antony.

Ms Sidhu flagged off the march. Participants marched alongside the Victoria Memorial.

The march was hosted by Victoria Memorial Hall and organised by IVI and Essilor India’s ‘Think About Eyes Campaign’ with the support of NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata.

“We are proud to be associated in the walk to highlight the cause of combating blindness in India, most of which is preventable,” said Dr Sengupta. “Such campaigns are important to raise awareness about visual impairment, a serious problem in India,” he said.

“In India, there are around 50 million with moderate and severe visual impairment.  The Indian economy loses potential productivity of over Rs.126,500 crores due to uncorrected refractive errors,” said Mr Vinod Daniel, CEO, India Vision Institute.

“There is a direct correlation between learning and vision. Our campaign and activities therefore also targets children.  The underprivileged communities in India need access to vision screening and spectacles if initiatives and public health interventions are to make a difference.”

“India Vision Institute has worked with Optometry institutions in Kolkata to capacity build Optomtery educators through several skill building workshops and has been associated with NSHM knowledge campus for a holistic optometry school development program over the last two years. IVI is now planning to vision screen 5000 children, in partnership with NSHM, in the greater Kolkata area,” Mr Daniel added.  

“I cannot thank Victoria Memorial enough for participating in this event today. The event, I hope, will go a long way to sensitise the participants, the political leadership, government and the broader public to the difficulties faced by the visually challenged, and the way in which they work around their disability,” said Mr Daniel.

People from all walks of life, including several local dignitaries, students from Optometry and other schools and colleges and staff participated in the march.

Carrying placards and banners with eye care messages, the blindfolded participants were led by visually impaired students from the Blind Boys’ Academy of Ramakrishna Mission, Narendrapur.

"Think about your eyes is Essilor’s national public awareness campaign designed to educate the public on the benefits of vision health and promote the importance of getting their eye tested, " said Ramachandran P, COO of Essilor India Pvt Ltd. “Our campaigns, including participation in the ‘Walk in the Dark’ march with IVI, aims to spread awareness about the need for eye care and regular testing,” he added.

The Walk has come to Kolkata after six cities since 2014, which include Chennai (November 2014), Hyderabad (April 2015), Delhi (October 2015), Mumbai (March 2016), Bengaluru (October 2016) and Panjim, Goa (November 2017).

 

About India Vision Institute (IVI)

India Vision Institute (IVI) is an independent, not-for-profit registered trust established in 2012. It is focused on supporting and promoting eye health awareness, research, education and technological development in Indian Optometry to advance capacity in vision correction, and prevention of eye disease and blindness.  (www.indiavisioninstitute.org)

 

For additional queries, contact Shekhar Nambiar, +919810154167