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Sunday, 28 February 2016

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Riding for sight

Starting this morning (28), hundreds of cyclists will take to the road across Colombo, to raise funds to assist cataract operations for poor blind patients.

"The cyclists are all volunteers. Each registered rider has committed to donate one or more cataract operation for a poor patient who remains blind because he/she is too poor to afford the costs involved in these operations," Director, Vision 20-20, Dr. Asela Abeydeera, Ministry of Health, told the Sunday Observer.

He said, there was a backlog of approximately 200,000 cataract surgeries, which Vision 20-20 hoped to clear within the next five years. "Our biggest challenge is mobility: transporting our equipment and professionals to under served areas. The only way to solve this problem would be to have a fully equipped Mobile Eye Care Unit, which will have multiple functions, such as carry all the equipment for the surgeries , and at the same time serve as the indoor space of a clinic. We need to raise US$350,000 to acquire and hand over the fully equipped Mobile Eye Care Unit by June 2016," he said.

In addition to the Mobile Eye Care Unit, monies from the fund raising campaign will also go towards purchasing special foldable lens required by all patients who undergo cataract surgery, and medications such as antibiotics etc. following surgery. "The total cost of a cataract operation is as low as Rs 5500, inclusive of the high quality foldable lens and all necessary consumables, and the operation itself is free if done in a government hospital," Dr Abeydeera added.

He urged the public to either register for the ride or make a donation for the ride. "This is the third time we have organised this event. By contributing to this worthy cause, you will help a blind person see the world".

For more information contact the Vision 2020 Secretariat, Room 37A, Ministry of Health, No. 385, Deans Road, Colombo 10,Phone/Fax 0094112693744

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