World Sight Day 2012: the culture of prevention

Paolo Pettazzoni: look after your sight

"Regular checkups are a good habit to cultivate from childhood. Children, parents, grandparents, your sight deserves to be looked after". With this message, Paolo Pettazzoni, representing Commissione Difesa Vista, concluded his talk at the conference titled "Occhio al nonno, occhio al nipote" (a watchful eye on grandparents and children) during World Sight Day 2012.


Raising awareness about the importance of regular eyesight tests for two "weak" groups has been at the heart of the Commission's activities for many years, also because the results of certain tests can be described as "alarming", especially with regard to children. "Alarming results that unfortunately confirm that we must continue to inform parents and schools about being more aware of the need for regular eyesight tests" Pettazzoni added and repeated that he is trying "to finalize an agreement with the Ministry of Education to be a partner in a pilot project in some Italian regions, which envisages the organization of talks in schools on the subjects of prevention and eyesight health".


But considerable attention is also to paid to senior citizens. "This year is the European Year for Active Ageing – Pettazzoni said – and it goes without saying that you cannot be fully active if you have sight problems. With the passing of the years it is essential to have regular eyesight tests that will pick up any signs of eye disorders that could be serious but can be cured, if they are diagnosed in time".


Before talking about the initiatives promoted on the occasion of World Sight Day 2012, Pettazzoni reeled off some staggering figures: every year, 5 million people go blind because of cataract; 280 million car drivers throughout the world have eyesight problems, with serious consequences in car accidents; 1,100 million people (33% of workers) have vision defects; 37% of people over 65 suffer from eye diseases. And all this creates social and health costs that are "worrying".