October 8 is World Sight Day

October 8, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION

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wsd_banner_woman_and_flowersWorld Sight Day is celebrated every 2nd Thursday of October. It is an annual one-day observance to help increase awareness and focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired. The theme for this year’s celebration is Gender and Eye Health: Equal Access to Care. More than 300 events in over 50 countries are planned.

Here are some statistics on visual impairment:

  • Visual problems are most prevalent in people 50 years and older.
  • Nearly 2/3 of blind people worldwide are females.
  • In some places, men have twice the access to eye care than women.
  • 80% of blindness is preventable.
  • 90% of blind people live in low income countries
  • The leading cause of blindness is cataract which is easily treated by a simple operation.
  • 8 million people globally are blind to due uncorrected refractive errors which are easily corrected by a pair of glasses.

Main causes of visual impairment

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified 10 priority eye diseases namely:

  • Cataract
  • Trachoma
  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
  • Childhood blindness
  • Refractive errors and low vision
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Age related macular degeneration
  • Corneal opacities
  • Genetic eye diseases

Here are initiatives on the prevention of vision impairment and loss.

Vision 2020: The Right to Sight

Vision 2020 is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.

Nearly 2/3 of blind people worldwide are females. In some places, men have twice the access to eye care as women.

Optometry Giving Sight’s World Sight Day Challenge
Optometrists from all over joined efforts to donate their services before or on World Sight Day. In addition, fundraising campaigns are ongoing!

WHO Prevention of Blindness (PBL)

PBL teams work with advocacy groups and NGOs to implement and „facilitate ongoing strategic planning, the PBL team co-ordinates the collection and dissemination at national, regional, and global levels of data that reflect the burden of visual impairment and the implementation of programme strategies. The principal area of work of the Prevention of Blindness team (PBL) is elimination of avoidable blindness.“

Through her Eyes

The photo exhibition „Through Her Eyes“ is going to be launched today by the Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF) at Chifley Tower, Bent street lobby area, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, Australia. The exhibition includes „beautiful photographs looking at the topic of blindness and gender „ goes till October 17. More info at www.hollows.org.au.

Check your community for local events on this big day!

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2 Responses to “October 8 is World Sight Day”
  1. Clara says:

    What a great idea. With all the people wearing glasses and contact lenses, I think we are becoming a nation of myopics.

  2. Ruth says:

    Hi Hart. I am so glad that you took this opportunity to promote this wonderful opportunity for improving world sight. Especially, as mentioned, in the poorer countries, and also, in third world countries, the gender factor comes into play.

    Sight is one of the most precious gifts we have. Let’s work to keep this gift, and help others to keep it too,


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