Launch of charity Optometry Giving Sight in Ireland
17th November, 2009
Staff and students at the Dublin Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the Association of Optometrists Ireland, have established the charity Optometry Giving Sight in Ireland. The Irish branch of the charity was officially launched by Clive Miller, Global CEO of Optometry Giving Sight at a ceremony on November 17th, 2009.
Established globally in 2003, Optometry Giving Sight aims to improve the lives of the 670 million people who are blind or visually impaired simply because they do not have a pair of glasses. Optometry Giving Sight is unique in that it is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to lack of spectacles. To date, the charity has established vision care services in Mozambique, East Africa, South Africa, Sri Lanka, East Timor and Indigenous Australia.
The charity is also involved in the Mozambique Eyecare Project with the aim of establishing Mozambique’s first Optometry School in Lúrio University, Nampula, Northern Mozambique. The Mozambique Eyecare Project has strong Irish links as it is run by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Optometry Department, University of Ulster and Irish Aid in association with the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) and the Universidade Lūrio.
Speaking about the Mozambique Eye-Care Project, Dr Loughman of DIT said: “Mozambique, at present, has only 13 ophthalmologists for a population of 21 million, and no optometrists or dispensing opticians. This project is based in the Nampula province in Northern Mozambique which has a population of 4.1 million and only one ophthalmologist. This means that very few people undergo eye examinations and when they do there is often no way to make up their glasses.”
To put these figures in context, in Ireland, with a similar population, there are 860 registered optometrists and over 200 registered ophthalmologists. The result of this initiative will be the training of Mozambique’s first professional optometrists and optometry technicians who will provide a sustainable and comprehensive eye-care system as an integral part of the national health system. For further information: www.givingsight.org and http://www.dit.ie/mozambique-eyecare.