This year’s Annual Blind Walk was held to support the National Prevention of Blindness to raise awareness on causes of avoidable blindness.
The Walk-a-thon was along the Jack Pidik Park towards Courts, BSP Waigani to the Works Department and back to Jack Pidik Park.
While it is an estimated 40 minute walk on Sunday morning, it took more than 1 hour 30 minutes as they were challenged to walk blindfolded.
A challenge that many with proper eyesight take for granted every day. It was a walk that changed their perspective.
This was the message the walk wanted to raise, that eye diseases are just as significant as other diseases.
A survey on the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness revealed alarming statistics in the country;
- The prevalence of blindness was 5.6% in people aged 50 years and over,
- Diabetes test conducted in NCD estimated prevalence of diabetes in adults over 50 was 7.8%,
- 80% of those diabetes never had an eye check,
- While nearly 49.5% of those newly diagnosed had some form of retinopathy or complication in the eye.
The survey showed that 66% common cause of Avoidable Blindness was untreated cataract sand refractive error. It was also revealed that there is little knowledge available out there of treatment for vision impairment. An area that the National Prevention of Blindness feels needs awareness.