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Lions help fight blindness

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NOBLE MISSION: Project aimed at preventing blindness, restoring sight and improving eye health

PETALING JAYA: For nearly 100 years, the Lions Clubs International has worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for millions of people worldwide.

Lions are best known for fighting blindness ever since Helen Keller challenged Lions to become the "knights of the blind".

By conducting vision screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine and raising awareness of eye disease, Lions work toward their mission of providing vision for all.

The Lions in Malaysia have played an active role in contributing towards Lions International SightFirst initiatives and have been recognised for it.

Dr J.P. Kamalanathan, during his tenure as District 308 B-1 Governor, challenged all 97 Lions clubs in the district to raise RM1 million for a Lions Eye Clinic .

Within six months, more than RM1.3 million was raised from Lions members in Malaysia and overseas as well as members of the public.

Located at MAHSA University College in Jalan Universiti, here, the Lions Eye Clinic started outpatient treatment on Dec 27, 2008.

The first cataract operation with intra-ocular lens implantation took place in April 2009.

As of May 31, the clinic set up by Lions Clubs International, District 308 B-1, Malaysia in collaboration with MAHSA College has seen 3,290 outpatients and conducted 579 operations.

Dr Kamalanathan, who is also chairman of the Lions Eye Clinic and president of the Lions Eye Clinic Foundation from 1998-2002, said that out of this number, 80 per cent were either provided free or at subsidised rates, thanks to the efforts and vision of a community service organisation.

"The Lions Eye Clinic has also been upgraded to be an ambulatory care centre in compliance with the requirements of the Ministry of Health," said Dr Kamalanathan, adding that a committee comprising entirely of Lions manages the administration of the clinic.

THANKS to the vision and efforts of a community service organisation, the elderly, needy and underprivileged need not have to put up with blurry and fuzzy images or even blindness anymore.

Funds for the sponsorship of patients and management of the clinic are from donations from Lions Clubs and individual donors.

The clinic also received a RM500,000 grant from the Health Ministry last December.

This grant will be used to sponsor cataract operations and for the Sight for Kids programme, which involves vision screening and will benefit 50,000 schoolchildren with an estimated 3,000 receiving new spectacles in Malaysia.

The Lions Eye Clinic aspires to serve many more patients and expand its services which can be done with appropriate funding.

Last October, the clinic launched the Gift of Sight programme with a hope that more funds will be raisedto help the underprivileged who are stricken with blindness.

The sponsorship can be dedicated to a loved one or in conjunction with a special occasion like birthdays or anniversaries.

The Lions Eye Clinic is only the first step in the overall vision of the Lions Eye Clinic Foundation as the long-term goal of the Lions Clubs in District 308 B1 is to have a Lions Eye Hospital in Malaysia.

Those who wish to donate to the Gift of Sight programme and Lions Eye Clinic Foundation can call 03-7957 5268.

You can also email to lionseyeclinic@ gmail.com.

An elderly patient getting her eyes checked as Dr J.P. Kamalanathan (standing at right) looks on.


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