If you’re someone who reads this blog each week, you know how proud we are of our approach to eye care and development. We believe we’re on the right track – helping people with immediate needs but also helping communities become self-sufficient in the long run.
That confidence was confirmed this week at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)’s Ninth General Assembly in Hyderabad, India.
From Monday to Thursday, we had multiple opportunities to share our vision with doctors, scientists and experts in eye care from around the world. Operation Eyesight’s focus on quality and sustainability is admired by many and shared by a growing segment of the international eye care community.
IAPB, based in London, England, is at the centre of all worldwide efforts to bring reliable eye care to everyone, including the poorest. At this event “everyone who is anyone” in the eye care world was there, with over 15,000 delegates from 87 countries.
It was convenient that this year’s event was in Hyderabad, because that’s also the location of Operation Eyesight’s India office. Our staff made nine presentations on various topics and exhibited static scientific displays (posters) that explain aspects of our work and approach.
As well, many of our programs partners from India and Africa were there, and some made their own presentations and exhibited their own scientific displays.
We also had a large and well-situated display booth that drew around 300 visitors a day, and proved to be the site of many important conversations and meetings.
One of the things that makes these general assemblies so important is that they are rare and therefore keenly anticipated. Occurring only once every four years, they are the Olympics of eye care – you can be sure that everyone who attends is really paying attention. For Operation Eyesight, our staff learned a great deal and we, in turn, were able to showcase our own innovations to the experts of the world.
Speaking of innovations, the conference organizers offered something very cool. During the coffee and lunch breaks throughout the conference, they ran a Dialogue in the Dark. This dining format occured in complete darkness with visually impaired waiters serving the refreshments. Dialogue in the Dark is rated by Forbes International as among the top 25 unusual “dining” experiences that one must try once in their lifetime. However, for most of the delegates at this conference, it wasn’t just a novelty experience – it was a poignant reminder that “sight is life,” especially for the worlds’ most vulnerable people.
To learn more about IAPB and the scope of the conference, click here.