WORLD BLINDNESS AWARENESS MONTH
October shines a spotlight on vision care during World Blindness Awareness Month.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 314 million people in the world have a severe visual impairment, including 37 million who are blind. A shockingly 80 percent of blindness is preventable.
The leading cause of preventable blindness is a bacterial disease called Trachoma. The infection impacts the vision of about 1.9 million people and is considered a public health issue. Another preventable cause of blindness is diabetic retinopathy. Disease management is key to preventing vision damage.
The observance also brings awareness to the need for screenings to help identify vision issues. Early intervention can prevent loss of sight or slow the progression of a disease.
Another goal of the observance to increase awareness of services for those with blindness. Throughout the month, organizations and clinics host events and promotions regarding vision health. In many countries, services and resources provide support so those with vision loss can lead independent lives. From rehabilitation to advocacy, these programs increase their opportunities.
HOW TO OBSERVE #BlindnessAwarenessMonth
Explore the vision observances during October. World Vision Day and White Cane Safety Day are two days to explore. Other ways to participate include:
- Attend a webinar on vision care and blindness.
- Make an appointment with your vision care provider.
- Offer improved access for those with low vision in your place of business. For example,
- offer Braille menus and pamphlets.
- label all buttons and links on your website so they can enable software that magnifies or reads the label aloud.
- don’t distract assistant dogs. They are working.
- keep walkways clear. Don’t run cords across pathways.
- use contrasting colors for doorways.
- include Braille signage for exits and bathrooms.
- Host a fundraiser or make a donation to an organization that supports research battling vision loss.
Use #BlindnessAwarenessMonth to share on social media.
WORLD BLINDNESS AWARENESS MONTH HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this awareness observance.