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Charity calls on people to protect eyes

The Bermuda Society for the Blind has called for people to protect their eyes as World Sight Day approaches.

International World Sight Day will take place on Thursday, with organisations around the world working to raise awareness about avoidable sight loss.

Amanda Marshall, BSFB president, said cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, adding that wearing sunglasses can help to prevent their onset.

Ms Marshall also urged the public to have their eyes examined for glaucoma every year after the age of 40 as the disease is a leading cause of vision loss in Bermuda.

Other preventable causes of vision loss include eye injuries and diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, which can be avoided through a healthy lifestyle.

Ms Marshall was speaking at Hamilton Rotary Club last week.

She said the BSFB has worked for 60 years to help promote vision health and support those with vision impairment.

The charity was formally established by a Private Act in 1957 but Ms Marshall said it sprang from a committee established six years earlier to work for blind people on the island.

The committee moved into Beacon House on Burnaby Street in 1954, when members crafted a range of goods including stools, baskets and even mop heads.

The crafting work continued until the early 2000s, when the focus shifted to bringing those with disabilities into the wider community.

The charity began offering vision rehabilitation therapy services for the first time on the island three years ago.

Ms Marshall said: “Our vision rehabilitation therapy programme enables people who are blind or vision impaired to complete everyday tasks that formerly depended on vision by using special techniques, strategies, and adapted equipment and technology.

“This leads to increased confidence and independence, and enhances the quality of life of those affected. For individuals with low vision, the programme focuses on using any remaining vision as effectively as possible.”