For Immediate Release

SINGAPORE NATIONAL EYE CENTRE, ROTARY INTERNATIONAL DISTRICTS 3310 & 3330 JOIN HANDS FOR BLINDNESS PREVENTION ‘Blindness Prevention in ASEAN - Rotary’s Response’ will focus on preventive measures to manage blindness in Southeast Asia

7 October 2017, Singapore – Blindness is an eye condition that affects 36 million people globally, with the largest number of visually impaired people residing in South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. To discuss and manage the issue, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) together with Blindness Prevention Committees of Rotary International District 3310 and 3300 organise the ‘Seeing Eye to Eye’ conference - ‘Blindness Prevention in ASEAN - Rotary’s Response’.
Blindness is a condition that still affects a large community in the world. According to a recent report by the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, out of the global population of 7.3 billion; 36 million people are blind, 217 million people are living with severe or moderate visual impairment and 253 million people are visually impaired. Please refer to Annex 1 for more information on Global Blindness and Visual Impairment.

Hoping to shed more light on the topic on a regional scale, this year’s conference aims to raise awareness towards the importance of blindness prevention. At the event, Rotary leaders and medical professionals across ASEAN countries came together to discuss regional trends in eye diseases and possible multilateral collaborations to possibly prevent blindness. Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) also launched the conference as the Guest-of-Honour.
In support of the World Sight Day 2017 – ‘Make Vision Count’, this year’s conference, themed, ‘Blindness Prevention in ASEAN - Rotary’s Response’ marks the 7th year of the joint initiative by Rotary International District 3310 – a network of clubs including Singapore, Johor, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan, and Brunei and Rotary International District 3300 – which comprises of 78 clubs in Klang Valley, Seremban and North of Malaysia.

Every year, Rotary Clubs in both Districts work together to establish public awareness on Blindness Prevention, and this year is no exception as the joint conference which is proudly supported by SNEC, focuses on promoting the importance of Disease Prevention and Treatment, specifically in the direction towards eradication of blindness in ASEAN. Next year, the conference will be hosted by Rotary International District 3300 in Penang, Malaysia. Ms Fu said, “It is heartening to note that the private and public sectors are taking an active role to work together and support the task to eradicate blindness in ASEAN.

Together with the support of Rotary Clubs and SNEC for this year’s ‘Blindness Prevention in ASEAN - Rotary’s Response’, the world of a blindness-free society is not too far away.”
District Governor of District 3310, Datuk Lee Chuen Wan shared “This year marks a very special partnership with Singapore National Eye Centre as we come together as a team to enforce the right for all human beings to have proper vision care lifelong irrespective of their social or financial status, and ensure no vision is lost due to

2017-2018 District Governor of District 3300 Malaysia, Dr. Manohur Kurup said “78% of global blindness cases come from Southeast Asia, and it is often caused by agingassociated health conditions such as cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. As a global citizen and medical practitioner, it is our responsibility to stress that blindness is a condition that we simply should not and will not turn a blind eye to.” Medical Director of SNEC, Professor Wong Tien Yin said, “ASEAN is a fast-ageing society, including in Singapore where the elderly population is set to double by 2030. Research has shown that more will go blind in time to come, but what is comforting to know is that blindness can be prevented with the capability of medical technologies today. Together, we can spread the message of the importance of blindness prevention and Make Vision Count at all times.”

SNEC reaches out to the community

In Singapore, SNEC have been giving back to the community through its annual National Eye Care Day, where over 35,000 people have been screened for eyerelated conditions and educated on good eye health habits. SNEC also provides regular eye-screenings to the community members, trains nurses from nursing homes on basic ophthalmic care, organises various support groups for patients and caregivers to cope with their experience, as well as to conduct educational programmes on proper eye care regime for students. On a regional effort, SNEC has also developed annual medical and teaching missions to other Asia countries.

Rotary Clubs gives back to the society

Rotary Clubs in both Districts conduct regular monthly eye screening exercises for the community within their area.

In addition, Rotary District 3310 also launched an exercise to screen at least 800 to 1000 residents culminating in the conference. To date, District 3310 have passed the 800 mark and should soon be achieving its target.

However, this does not mean that Rotarians are going to sit back and relax. On the contrary, the Rotary International Districts 3310 & 3300 will have to double the efforts to ensure that there is no let-up of its vision to Eradicate Blindness in our Society.

About Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) was incorporated in 1989 and commenced operations in
1990. It is the designated national centre within the public-sector healthcare network, and spearheads
and coordinates the provision of specialised ophthalmological services with emphasis on quality
education and research. Since its opening in 1990, SNEC has achieved rapid growth and currently
manages an annual workload of 300,000 outpatient visits, 35,000 major eye surgeries and laser

Subspecialties in Cataract, Corneal and External Eye Disease, General Cataract and Comprehensive
Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Oculoplastic, Paediatric Ophthalmology and
Strabismus, Refractive Surgery, Ocular Inflammation and Immunology, Medical Retina and Surgical
Retina have been established to provide a full range of eye treatment from comprehensive to tertiary
levels for the entire spectrum of eye conditions.

For more information about SNEC, visit

About Rotary
Rotary International is the oldest non-governmental organisation in the world and the club is currently
112 years old.

To know more about Rotary International please visit

And to know more about District 3310 please visit

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Ms Pearlene Wong
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Singapore National Eye Centre(SNEC)
Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI)
Mr Ravi Chandran
Corporate Communications
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