"Vision Awareness Months": a huge success
1500 check-ups in the first 9 stops
«Prescription eyewear is a major preventive, corrective and protective device, just as eyesight is precious and must be safeguarded, and Mido is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone of this», remarks CDV President, Vittorio Tabacchi. «This is why we decided to have the last stop on the Sight Mobile's itinerary coincide with the eyewear fair. Promoted by the CDV and all of its partners under the title, "Vision Awareness Months" the initiative, launched last October, also enjoys the prestigious support of the Ministry of Health».
Vision Awareness Months, promoted by the CDV in partnership with Andom, Anfao, Assogruppi Ottica, Federgruppi Ottica, Federottica, Soi [Italian Ophthalmological Society], Vision+NPO and Mido, is a crucial initiative aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of regular vision check-ups through a program offering free screenings. It visited 10 Italian cities – Milan, Padua, Turin, Florence, Genoa, Bologna, Parma, Ferrara, Venice and Rome and is making a special repeat stop in Milan during the trade show.
«Starting tomorrow, through March 3rd, we will be on the road – in the true sense of the word – as a reminder that healthy vision is a precious asset that is all too often neglected», explains Tabacchi. «Ophthalmologists and opticians will conduct free eye exams on board the fully-equipped Sight Mobile stationed in Via Palestro, entrance from the Public Gardens»
It is essential to note that this initiative is made possible through the cooperative efforts of opticians and ophthalmologists, working in partnership with industry organizations: opticians' associations (ANDOM, Assogruppi, Federgruppi and Federottica), SOI-Italian Ophthalmological Society and Vision+NPO, and Mido -- all active supporters of the CDV in its efforts to promote preventive eye care.
«Now is the time to thank all those who have worked so hard to implement this project», declares Tabacchi. «It is only through their generosity and professionalism that we were able to kick off a project that has yielded significant results. The response in each city was huge and enthusiastic. The ophthalmologists and opticians set out from Milan on a journey that took them to Padua, Turin, Florence, Genoa, Bologna Ferrara, Parma, Venice and Rome. Over the course of the first 9 stops they conducted approximately 1,500 check-ups, sometimes with alarming outcomes: undiagnosed and untreated visual impairments, people who had never had their vision checked. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how valuable this initiative is: free eye exams carried out by industry professionals are a huge boon to the population, especially in tough economic times like these».
The 2014 initiative is only one facet of the CDV's activities. For more than 40 years it has been involved in similar initiatives. «Our awareness campaigns are consistently more effective and widespread, and this is quite gratifying», emphasizes Tabacchi. Starting tomorrow, preventive eye care will again be in the spotlight in Milan to send a key message to the public before making way for future initiatives already in planning. «We have accomplished a lot during decades of activity, but there is still much to be done before prevention becomes a basic precept, not only in terms of its health advantages but also the social costs related to lack of care», asserts Tabacchi. Recent research has revealed an alarming trend with regard to the amount of attention Italians devote to their own and their children's eye health. One Italian in 5 does not take it into consideration, and more than 60% has not had a vision check-up with a specialist in the last 3 years. The global situation is no better: there are about 285 million people in the world who are visually impaired, of these, 39 million are blind and 246 million partially-sighted. In Europe, about 50% of the partially-sighted cases could be avoided if more targeted early interventions took place.
«Ours is a long-term project that is gradually gaining ground, thanks to the skills and recruiting abilities of the Associations that are part of the CDV. It is only through sharing and teamwork that such far-reaching projects can be enacted», he concludes. «Vision Awareness Months is the first crucial, long-term project in this direction, blazing a trail we plan to continue to pursue in order to create greater public awareness of the importance of preventive eye care».