Chinese (NGDOs) Nongovernmental Development Organizations Battle Blindness. Water Educator Sharon Kleyne Says Chinese Blindness Can Be Prevented.
According to Sharon Kleyne’s research in evaporation and dry eye disease, blindness is out of control on planet earth and nowhere is it more devastating than China with its immense population.
Recent UN studies reveal that China accounts for 18 percent of the world’s blind population. No other country comes close. Major causes of blindness in China include cataracts, cornea diseases, trachoma glaucoma and several other causes (such as an ongoing vitamin A deficiency) of blindness in children. At this time, cataracts are the main cause of blindness in China. Mainly a disease associated with aging, cataracts are responsible for fifty percent of China’s blind cases—close to three million people. Blindness in China is not only a health and social problem; it is an economic problem, too. Government statistics suggest that blindness costs China between fifteen and twenty billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Yet, Kleyne believes that forty to fifty percent of annual blindness cases in China are preventable.
In 1984, the Chinese Ministry of Health crafted a series of five-year plans to provide cataract surgery throughout the country. Under these plans 600,000 cataract surgeries were performed between 1991 and 1994. Still, because of China’s rising population over age 60 (in 2020, it is estimated that 240,000 million Chinese will be 60 or older), the government projects that 5 million people will be blind in 2020 due to cataracts. “This trend has prompted an inspired global response,” said Kleyne, “spearheaded by the World Health Organization.” A WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma (GET 2020) was established in 1997, which constitutes an integral part of Vision 2020. This alliance includes non-governmental organizations playing an ever greater role in prevention of preventable blindness in China. Presently, 12 NGDOs actively collaborate with WHO and the Ministry of Health and support eye care delivery in 19 of the 31 provinces in China. Among them (in alphabetical order):
• Amity Foundation (China)
• Asia Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness (Hong Kong, China)
• Christoffel-Blindenmission (Christian Blind Mission International (CBM), Germany)
• Foresight (Australia)
• Foundation for Eye Care Himalaya (The Netherlands)
• The Fred Hollows Foundation (Australia)
• Helen Keller International (USA)
• The Lions Club International (USA)
• ORBIS International (USA)
• Singapore National Eye Centre (Singapore)
• Seva Foundation (USA)
• Tibet Vision Project (USA)
These NGDOs have agreed to work together within Vision 2020 towards the common goal of eliminating preventable blindness in China by 2020.
Sharon Kleyne, host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, Global Climate Change and Your Health on VoiceAmerica sponsored by Nature’s Tears® EyeMist®, is also doing more than her fair share to prevent blindness in China. Kleyne is proud of the fact that Nature’s Tears® EyeMist®, the signature product of her research center at Bio-Logic Aqua Research® Water Life Science®, was recently released in China. “We think that Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® will contribute to eliminating preventable blindness,” said Kleyne, “which has been such a scourge on Chinese health since the Peoples’ Republic of China came into existence in 1949.”
Did you ever go blind in China or know someone who did? Would you like to share your thoughts on blindness and China? If you have comments or stories you’d like to share, we’d like very much to hear from you! You can reach us in the following ways. Sharon@biologicaquaresearch.com 800-367-6478 ~ Fax 541-474-2123 http://www.naturestears.com or on Twitter at @sharonkleynehr