World Sight Day is a special day of awareness celebrated annually on the second Thursday of October. This year it is being celebrated on 12th October 2017 with the aim of raising public awareness about vision impairment as a major health issue around the world. The World Sight Day is a worldwide campaign organised by the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). IAPB is an umbrella organisation to numerous institutes that was set up in the mid-1970s to draw the attention of the world towards global blindness and mobilizing resources to prevent blindness. We need to make #VisionCount.
World Sight Day 2017 is the most important event on the eye health calendar. A large number of organisations around the world have been involved with World Sight Day for many years. Some people choose to show their support by planting trees, while other people get involved by submitting a photograph that will be used to create an international photograph montage focusing on the theme of blindness. Other activities that take place on this day include special fundraising walks to help cover the costs of operations, book readings for the blind and a number of booklets and posters that are created in order to raise awareness of the issue.
IAPB has come up with the VISION 2020 programme to influence governments to organize programs for blindness prevention. Out of the 285 million people with low vision and blindness, 90% live in low-income countries. About 80 % of the visual impairment problems are fixable. It is thus necessary to come up with strategies to control blindness. Also, organize camps to restore sights of those who can’t see.
Also, the IAPB Vision Atlas gathers the immense data and evidence related to avoidable cases of blindness and sight loss. It tells the story behind the numbers, offers solutions, highlights the opportunities to eliminate some blinding conditions.
World Sight Day 2017: Understanding The Theme
The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is “Make Vision Count”. This World Sight Day, IAPB has called upon the photographers from around the world, to click and highlight the impact of eye health in people’s life. Irrespective of the areas of focus that include cataract, glaucoma, diabetes, IAPB aims to reach out to new groups and celebrate partnerships and friendships. IAPB aims to highlight the problems eye patients are facing and collect funds to solve the same. IAPB focuses on acquiring the attention of those in the eye care industry.
On this occasion, also read about: Eye Flu & 5 Ways to Reduce Eye Stress article here.
- Raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
- To influence governments, particularly health ministers, to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.
- To educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and its activities, and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities.
According to a recent study by WHO, about 80 percent of the world’s 45 million blind people are aged 50 years and above. And, out of those, about 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries, wherein older people, especially older women, face obstacles to getting the needed eye health care.
World Sight Day is the only International day of awareness to garner global attention on blindness and vision impairment that affects a monstrous 640 million people globally. It is a communications opportunity for the eye care people to engage with a bigger audience. It also brings about the importance of healthcare needs.The doctors, social organisations, educational institutes, patients, all need to come together and work towards the elimination of blindness. Caretakers of the patients, nurses and donors also have a huge role to play in the process.
This World Sight Day let’s get together to work towards all those we know that are in need of an eye care treatment. Also, it is a call to focus on those with permanent eye problem who require rehabilitation. It is that time of the year to draw the attention of government, the decision and policy makers to those who are denied eye care, those who are in dire need of the same and are being tossed around from place to place, with no one taking responsibility for them. We need to make #VisionCount.