Happy World Sight Day

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On the second Thursday of October, people all around the world celebrate World Sight Day. This global event draws attention to blindness, visual impairments, and the prevention methods of both. It’s praised as the “most important advocacy and communications event on the eye health calendar.”

World Sight Day 2021 logo

History

World Sight Day was initially created in 2000 as part of the SightFirst Campaign launched by the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF). It was then incorporated into VISION 2020, a global initiative, which has been expanded and “built upon by a series of additional plans.” The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO) organizes World Sight Day events every year. IAPB takes on the responsibility of deciding on each year’s theme and creating the informational materials. From there, members and organizations plan their own events.

In 2020, there were 255 World Sight Day events throughout 47 countries. These events ranged from online-only events, including seminars and donation drives.

Purpose

World Sight Day focuses on a few goals every year. Firstly, IAPB wants to raise public awareness. Educating the public about blindness and visual impairments as an international health issue is crucial to this cause. Secondly, they want governments around the world to implement blindness prevention programs through World Sight Day participation and allocated funds. Lastly, they want their target audience to learn about blindness prevention, spread the word about VISION 2020’s goal, and gather support for related activities.

All these efforts equate to meeting their goal of eliminating preventable blindness around the world.

Women wearing glasses and smiling while peeling fruit in a bowl outside with the world sight day 2021 logo, love your eyes logo, and IAPB logo

Stats & Prevention

There are a few prevalent causes of preventable blindness. Some of these include:

  1. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and other uncorrected refractive errors
  2. Unoperated cataracts
  3. Untreated glaucoma
  4. Diabetic retinopathy

Did you know that approximately…

  • 90% of people with visual impairments are in developing countries
  • 65% of people with visual impairments are over the age of 50
  • 19 million children have a significant visual impairment; many of which are preventable
  • 1.4 million children have lifelong vision loss

There are steps you can take to preserve your sight and avoid preventable blindness. Some of these steps include:

  1. Regular eye exams – Early detection is a great way to prevent future vision loss
  2. Learn about your family’s vision history – Some preventable vision issues are genetic
  3. Quit smoking and drink less alcohol – These can lead to an increased chance of getting cataracts and other vision issues
  4. Wear eye protection – Preventing eye injury is a sizable step in preventing vision loss
heart your eyes

This Year’s Theme

World Sight Day 2021 falls on October 14th. This year’s theme is “Love Your Eyes,” and the goal is to have over 1 million people pledge to have their eyes tested. This theme and goal draw attention to the importance of being aware of our own eye health and places ownership of this task on individuals.

World Sight Day also wants to educate everyone on the 4 P’s to good eye health: prevent, protect, preserve, and prioritize.

“Our eyes can also tell us so much about our general health – soon we’ll have more information about how to #LoveYourEyes and learn more about your own eye health.”

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This post was written by Jessica Sanders

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