WORLD SIGHT DAY
On the second Thursday in October, World Sight Day challenges everyone to focus on vision health, blindness, and vision impairment.
The day is both a call to action and a drive for awareness concerning vision care around the globe. Prevention of disease helps to reduce blindness and vision impairment. Beyond prevention, World Sight Day seeks to improve recognition and access to care for those who need services.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 285 million people of all ages are visually impaired. Causes of visual impairment include uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. Sadly, 80% of all visual impairments are preventable. People with visual impairments who are poor simply lack the funds to access a pair of eyeglasses. Many others cannot afford cataract surgery, or there is no one in their community to perform the procedure.
Of those with visual impairments, 39 million are blind. Some of the most common causes of blindness include:
- Eye complications of diabetes
- Macular degeneration
- Traumatic injuries
In underdeveloped countries, infectious diseases are a primary cause of blindness. These diseases included herpes, trachoma, and leprosy. Vitamin A deficiencies also cause blindness. Retinopathy that develops in premature babies can also become blind.
From education, treatment, and programs, blindness awareness has come a long way in the last 20 years. At one time, braille readers and seeing-eye dogs were some of the most common ways to help blind people. Now, help for the blind or visually impaired includes special footwear that allows a blind person to walk in the right direction. Other technologies include bionic eyes and glasses that help the colorblind see color.
Not only does the day seek to improve services, but to improve how the world perceives those with vision impairments.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldSightDay
Globally, 149 countries observe World Sight Day. Awareness events include seminars, launches, donation drives, rallies, and online events. To observe World Sight Day, join in the worldwide observance of World Sight Day at The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Think about what it would be like to live in a world you could not see.
Another way to educate yourself on visual impairments and blindness is through reading. Some books include All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and The Man Who Dared to See by Robert Kurson. Use #WorldSightDay to share on social media.
WORLD SIGHT DAY HISTORY
The Sight First Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation initiated the first World Sight Day in 2000. The day eventually integrated into VISION 2020 and is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Beginning in 2005, a yearly call to action brought focus to specific needs for the visually impaired. Recent calls to action have included:
2019: Vision First!
2018: Eye Care Everywhere
2017: Make Vision Count
2016: Stronger Together
2015: Eye Care for All
10 October 2019
8 October 2020
14 October 2021
13 October 2022
12 October 2023
10 October 2024
9 October 2025
8 October 2026
14 October 2027
12 October 2028
11 October 2029