Led by the visually impaired, hundreds of people with blindfolds around their eyes took to the streets of Bengaluru on Thursday. Similar scenes were observed in 150 cities across six countries on the event of World Sight Day.
The Blind Walk is an annual event organised on World Sight Day by Project Vision that gives the sighted a chance to understand what it is like to not be able to see. Its aim is to raise awareness on eye donation.
"We are conducting this Blind Walk to enable people to donate their eyes. To create awareness, this is a big moment," said Pratap, who was representing Project Vision. He said that it was being organised for the last five years.
Sandeep Bothra, who heads eye care company Alcon in India, said it was a great honour to be participating in the event. "There are close to 3 million blind people in India. Only 69,000 cornea donations are happening. If we raise awareness, then we will be able to bring vision to more than 30 lakh people in the country," he said.
Anantha Sai Subramaniam, vice president of Rotary Bangalore Abilities was one of the visually challenged participants in the Blind Walk. "The reason for the walk today was to give awareness of eye donation. Our message is 'Don't bury your eyes, donate your eyes - and see that about 5 million people in India get back their vision," he said.
Another visually impaired participant, Sheshadri, told NDTV that this walk would help people like her who could not see.
"This is going to benefit a lot of people who need to undergo the corneal transplants. I would really encourage people to donate their eyes. Take the pledge. When there is a deceased person in the house, please go ahead and take the step boldly, to remove the misconceptions about eye donation. It is a small procedure and will bring light to many people's lives," she said.
Former Chief Justice of India, Justice MN Venkatachalaiah also attended the event. "All of us should support the blind of this world and try to make their world a little better than what it is," he said.