Informational

Happy World Sight Day

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.”

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 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.

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

This Year’s Theme

World Sight Day 2022 falls on October 13th. Last year’s theme, “Love Your Eyes,” returns.

More than a billion people around the world don’t have access to eye care. That’s why this year, World Sight Day aims to have more than 5 million people pledge to get their eyes checked while also advocating for global eye care.

When you make the pledge, let others know! Post about your pledge and use the hashtag #LoveYourEyes.

Looking for another way to participate? Take their quiz to see if you’re taking proper care of your eyes.

“Eye health impacts education, employment, quality of life, poverty and so many other Sustainable Development Goals. This World Sight Day, we want organisations and the public to come together to encourage governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to actively call for universal access to eye health.”

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders has been in the document accessibility world for nearly a decade. Early in her career, she worked hands-on transcribing standard print into accessible formats like braille, large print, and audio and even helped Braille Works in their transition to Unified English Braille (UEB). After more than 5 years in transcription, Jessica decided it was time for a change and transitioned to Braille Works' marketing department. She now spends her time educating the world on the critical need for accessible documents.

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