World Sight Day 2019The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will be offering a number of services to the public, free of cost, in observance of World Sight Day 2019.On October 10, 2019, Guyana will observe World Sight Day – an international day of awareness observed annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of eye health. This year, the theme is “Vision First” – a call to nations to ensure that everyone has access to affordable eye care.For the past six years, the GPHC Department of Ophthalmology has been spearheading World Sight Day activities in Guyana with various activities being done over the years to promote vision health education and awareness.There will be free eye testing at the GPHC’s Eye Clinic on October 10, 2019 from 10:00h to 14:00h. Patients will have free access to the clinic and can walk into the clinic to have their eyes tested for glaucoma, cataract, refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases.The Diabetic Retinopathy Centre will also be open on that day. Through collaboration with the World Diabetes Foundation and Orbis International, the Diabetic Eye Centre was established to allow persons with diabetes to undergo free screening tests to detect early diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) before it proceeds to cause permanent blindness.The screening on World Sight Day will be done by the staff of the Department of Ophthalmology including Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, doctors, and nurses of the GPHC Eye Clinic. Screening will also be done at the Vision Centre, located in the GPHC compound.Additionally, the GPHC will be hosting a free eye testing activity at the Mattai’s Supermarket on Water Street, Georgetown from 10:00h to 14:00h on the same day.A booth and screening area will be set up at the entrance of the supermarket where members of the public will have free access to have their eyes tested for glaucoma, cataract, refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases. Staff from the GPHC will be present to do vision testing and eye pressure testingFurthermore, the GPHC will also be hosting a World Sight Day Ophthalmic CME Session in commemoration of World Sight Day for eye care professionals and physicians. This is an educational session where lectures are given on various eye diseases to update physicians in practice. This year, the GPHC is collaborating with Da Silva’s Optical, Modern Optical Service, Optique Vision Care and Orbis International to sponsor this event.This will be held on World Sight Day from 18:00h to 20:00h at Duke Lodge, Kingston, Georgetown.Moreover, the GPHC administration is working on constructing a billboard to encourage persons with diabetes to check their eyes for diabetic retinopathy. Early screening prevents blindness from diabetes. Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy is now available free of charge at the GPHC and patients can prevent blindness by undergoing early screening.Local optometrists and optical shops are also expected to be involved in eye screening activities at various locations in Georgetown. The GPHC is also planning to collaborate with the Lions Club in conducting a free vision screening exercise. The University of Guyana School of Optometry also conducts various commemorative activities on campus.World Sight Day is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).World Sight Day became an official IAPB event in the year 2000, and has been marked in many different ways in countries around the world each year since then. It is a focal advocacy and PR event for IAPB and its members and partners each year, highlighting the fact that 75 per cent of blindness is avoidable (ie preventable and/or treatable) – three out of four people have avoidable visual impairment. World Sight Day provides a platform for organisations to encourage Governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to actively support global blindness prevention efforts.