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First international conference on women and blindness

Boston, MA A call for public health action, increased funding for research, and creative educational programs in both the developing and developed worlds may be an outcome of the first international conference on women and blindness. Vision experts from around the country and the world will gather to explore why women are nearly twice as likely to lose their vision as men and how to stem the tide of blinding diseases in women. Called "Improving Women's Eye Health: Strategies to Address the Greater Burden of Blindness Among Women" and sponsored by the Women's Eye Health Task Force based at Schepens Eye Research Institute, the conference will be at the Harvard Club (374 Commonwealth Avenue) on Friday, November 7, from 8 am to 5 pm. Members of the media are invited to attend.

The conference, which will be attended by public health policy makers, health care providers, scientists, organizations for the blind, the women's health collaborative, and vision experts, is also the first public forum held by the Women's Eye Health Task Force, founded in 2002 by a group of concerned scientists at Harvard's Schepens Eye Research Institute in response to a statistic just coming to light that two-thirds of the world's blind are women. These Schepens scientists invited and joined forces with vision experts throughout the US to form a national task force to begin a battle against eye disease in women.

The extent of the problem of blindness in women had became clear with the publishing of a meta analysis of more than 70 epidemiological studies on blindness conducted over the past 20 years, which showed that women accounted for most of the world's blind. In addition, World Health Organization (WHO) statistics indicate that 150 million people are living with low vision and more than 44 million people are blind. Two-thirds of the people suffering from visual impairment are women. Of the one million blind people in the United States, over 700,000 of them are women. In th
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Contact: Patti Jacobs
pattijacobs@hotmail.com
617-864-2712
Schepens Eye Research Institute
4-Nov-2003


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