285 million people are blind or visually impaired - 80% of those don’t have to be. This day is dedicated to raising global awareness for blindness and visual impairment.
Held every year, on the second Thursday of October, World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. It aims to raise public awareness around the world about the prevention and treatment of loss of vision and draw attention to the right to sight.
Up to 80% of cases of blindness are avoidable, either resulting from preventable or treatable conditions. The causes of avoidable blindness are frequently associated with poverty and lack of access to quality eye care services. In fact, 90% of the world's blind people live in developing countries.
We are fortunate in the UK that support is widely available for anyone who experiences loss of sight, however this isn’t the case in most of the developing world. The reality for many blind people in developing countries is that they have little or no hope of accessing treatment or information on what preventable measures they should take.
Every year the eye health sector celebrates World Sight Day when hundreds of activities are organised to draw attention to the huge issue of preventable blindness. The international theme for World Sight Day 2016 is universal eye health, with a call to action: Stronger Together.
Universal Eye Health is defined as:
“A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care services”
But how can we achieve this?
Achieving Universal Eye Health is still a huge challenge. It’s restricted by the limited capacities of health systems in low-income and middle-income countries to deliver effective eye care services. Therefore it’s important that an active Eye Health national committee is in place. The main elements a government needs to put in place to achieve universal eye health include comprehensive eye care services, eye health integration into health systems, and access for everyone.
The theme for this year is ‘Stronger Together’ and is an opportunity to think of all the different groups of people who are involved with eye care: Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Ophthalmic Nurses, Donors, Patients, Carers, the Wider Family, and Charities who provide funding and Volunteers - and to celebrate these partnerships and friendships.
Every five seconds one person in the world goes blind. One child goes blind every minute.
Lets pledge our support for blindness prevention efforts.
Visit the official World Sight Day website to find out all about ways you can help.