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West Virginia-based eye foundation to raise awareness through virtual event Saturday

MORGANTOWN — The Eye Foundation of America will host a virtual Friend/Fund Raiser event to raise awareness about the foundation’s purpose, honor leading eye care professionals from around the world and educate community members on the importance of vision.

EFA was conceived in West Virginia in 1979 and is now present in over 30 countries. Its mission is to research, treat and inform others about conditions that may result in childhood blindness with an ultimate goal of a world without it. The foundation often targets rural or impoverished areas to give care to individuals facing sight-threatening conditions free of charge.

According to EFA’s website, the foundation, which is run by more than 700 educated medical staff and doctors, has conducted over 3 million vision screenings worldwide and has performed over 325,000 vision-saving procedures.

Some of the foundations endeavors include offering vision screenings and corrective lenses to children and adults, free cataract surgeries and participation in the 100,000 Lives Campaign for individuals living with diabetes.

EFA President and Founder Dr. Vadrevu K. Raju is a West Virginia eye surgeon who has received accolades for his philanthropic ophthalmology work. He reiterated that the foundation’s main focus is on the treatment and prevention of childhood blindness.

According to Raju, EFA’s upcoming virtual event will be just as entertaining as it will be educational. The event will be a musical one. There will be an appearance from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as the event’s chief guest speaker; and EFA will present the Robert Murphy Visionary Award to six ophthalmologists — three from the United States and three from India.

Even if attendees don’t end up donating funds to EFA, Raju hopes that they will leave the virtual event with a heightened sense of awareness regarding the seriousness of childhood blindness, especially when 80% of human learning occurs through vision.

“I always say, ‘The greatest equalizer in this world is education.’ Eighty percent of our learning is through vision. If the child misses the chance of learning, then it becomes too late,” he said.

The Friend/Fund Raiser virtual event will take place via YouTube and will commence at 9 a.m. Saturday. It is open to the public. Registration is not required. The event can be found on EFA’s YouTube channel on the morning it goes live.

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