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FOR RELEASE 6/16/2010, Wednesday

Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs Partner to Fight Childhood Blindness Pediatric Cataract Initiative Focused on Research, Prevention and Treatment
for Debilitating Childhood Eye Condition 

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute and Lions Clubs International Foundation today unveiled a new global partnership aimed at conquering pediatric cataract, a critical cause of childhood vision loss and blindness.

The Pediatric Cataract Initiative (www.PediatricCataract.org) will utilize the resources of both organizations to identify, fund and promote innovative methods of overcoming this issue for the long-term benefit of children, their families and their communities.

This debilitating childhood condition is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Causes include intrauterine infections such as pregnancy rubella, metabolic disorders and genetically transmitted syndromes.

During the first year, the Initiative’s primary focus will be on the People’s Republic of China, where at least 40,000 children are estimated to suffer from pediatric cataract. The prevalence of pediatric cataract ranges from one to four children per 10,000 births in developing countries – ten times the rate of occurrence in developed nations.

“Bringing new vision to the eyes of the world requires more than just developing innovative products,” said Brent Saunders, chief executive officer, Bausch + Lomb. “We believe that with significantly more attention and funding placed against pediatric cataract research, prevention and treatment, we can truly make a difference in the lives of children worldwide.”

“Lions Clubs International Foundation has helped save the sight of tens of millions of people worldwide,” said Al Brandel, chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation. “This new Initiative has the potential to reach families and communities around the globe, both in direct funding support and the identification and extension of innovative, highly effective programs.”

Surgery to remove a pediatric cataract can take place within the first few weeks of life or later. Successful outcomes require frequent examination and planned replacement of vision correction devices (intraocular lenses, contact lenses, or eyeglasses) throughout childhood and into adolescence, as well as access to low vision services. With proper follow-up care, children can grow into fully sighted adults requiring minimal or no additional vision correction.

Members of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative global advisory council include:

  • Chairman Gullapalli "Nag" Rao, M.D., MBBS, Ph.D., founder of the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, and known worldwide for his humanitarian efforts to prevent blindness;
  • Joseph Barr, O.D., M.S., FAAO, vice president, Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services (Vision Care), Bausch + Lomb;
  • Sean P. Donahue, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center;
  • Clare Gilbert, M.D., MSc, professor in International Eye Health, International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University;
  • Scott Lambert, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics, Emory University;
  • Lipika Roy, M.D., MBA, head of Asia-Pacific Medical Affairs (Pharmaceuticals), Bausch + Lomb.

In addition, Lions Clubs International Foundation will name one of its members to serve on the advisory board in July 2010.

For additional information, visit www.PediatricCataract.org.

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About the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute
The Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute is a program of the global eye health company focusing on children's vision research, treatment, prevention and advocacy. Founded in 1853, Bausch + Lomb is one of the best-known and most respected healthcare brands in the world, with its contact lenses and solutions, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, and ophthalmic surgical products available in approximately 100 countries. For more information, visit www.bausch.com.

About Lions Clubs International Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the grant-making body of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer service organization. The LCIF SightFirst program, Lions’ flagship initiative, builds comprehensive eye care systems to fight the major causes of blindness and care for blind and visually impaired persons. Since 1990, the SightFirst program has helped restore sight to more than 30 million people around the world, having invested US$237 million in surgeries, the improvement of hundreds of eye care facilities and training of thousands of eye care professionals. For more information, visit www.lcif.org.