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SILOAM Center celebrates World Sight Day with free services  

By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh 

SILOAM Center Liberia joined the rest of the world here on Thursday, 13 October and celebrated World Sight Day with free eye testing for nearly 500 Liberians.

The occasion took place at SKD Boulevard Total Gas Station with a cataract outreach, as part of the day’s activities in coordination with the Ministry of Health. This year’s World Sight Day was held on the theme: Reducing blindness and improving eye care service.”

Dr. Catherine S. Gasie, an Optometrist at Siloam Center, says the annual event aims to highlight the effects of visual impairment and the importance of eliminating avoidable blindness to citizens of Liberia.

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Dr. Gasie says that Siloam Center celebrates the day annually by demonstrating the need to provide good-quality eye care to Liberians, whom she notes, are seriously suffering from eye disease and don’t know how to go about it.

“Majority of the people today”, she notes, “has eyes problem, and are suffering; sometimes end up going blind, because they don’t know, how to take care of their eyes, and there’s a need for more awareness to educate people on eyes sickness, and how to avoid vision blindness.”

Dr. Gasie continues that the number of people in need of eye care in Liberia is increasing, and warns that without sufficient awareness and strong collaborative efforts to improve eye health services, many people would lose their vision unnecessarily.

“We are calling on all Liberians to love their eyes and get tested, and also for greater investment in eye health services. No one should experience unnecessary or preventable sight loss.”

Over half of global vision loss is preventable or treatable, but lack of quality eye care services and awareness about good eye health means that many people don’t get the care they need.

Research index says, about 36 million worldwide, are living with unnecessary blindness and their lives are needlessly affected, simply because they don’t know the means to care for their eyes.

John Kamara, a 45-year-old beneficiary of the Siloam Eyes Center outreach and freed eyes checkup, expressed joy about the free service, saying “It felt like there were sand particles in my eyes. It really disturbed me and when I visited the hospital, the doctor said I needed surgery, but it was too expensive. It’s great to be a part of this free eye care service.”

“Now the checkup was done on my eyes and I can feel much better, and clear just few minutes ago. I am so happy, for this service done by Siloam Center”, Kamara adds.

Another beneficiary, Lorpu Flomo says quality eye care had been hard to come by, disclosing that she spent a year having problems with her eye. But after Thursday’s checkup, she remarks; “I am grateful for the opportunity to undergo this surgery and as the patch has been removed, I can notice an improvement in my vision. I am grateful to the team of doctors.”

In Liberia, more than 480,000 people are living with vision loss. Despite progress in eye health in recent years, there is still a low level of cataract surgical coverage, one of the leading causes of blindness, due to shortage of eye health professionals. Much of the population also lives in rural areas that often lack health services.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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