A local optometrist is helping to make a difference in the lives of those without access to basic eye care services through participation in the World Sight Day Challenge. World Sight Day was Thursday. Dr. Susan DeBlack of DeBlack Eye Care Center on Tyler Street in Conway, donated her eye examination fees to the challenge, aiding around 670 million people globally who are blind or vision impaired because they do not have access to an eye exam or a pair of glasses. 

DeBlack said she normally sees around 10 patients on World Sight Day. The money raised by optometrists helps provide glasses and exams for $5 and helps train people in developing countries to perform eye exams, according to DeBlack. 

The funds will be directed to projects in Sri Lanka, Southern Africa, East Timor, Latin America, Indigenous Australia, Papua New Guinea and other locations.

DeBlack said she is still taking donations to send to Optometry Giving Sight, the organizer of the World Sight Day Challenge. 

“I am proud to join thousands of optometrists around the world in this program,” DeBlack said. “The patients I see every day have a number of incredibly high-tech and sophisticated vision care services and vision correction options available to them.”

About 85 percent of funds raised go directly to programs that give sight to those most in need. By the end of 2009, Optometry Giving Sight will have distributed $3 million through its partners to help screen and provide basic eye care services to more than 1.7 million people.