World Sight Day: Raising Public Awareness of Issues Surrounding Blindness and Visual Impairment

World Sight Day is celebrated the second Thursday of October every year. The event is celebrated all around the world by numerous organizations, eye care professionals, and other eye centric businesses. The aim of World Sight Day is to focus global attention to blindness and vision impairment.

History of World Sight Day

The SightFirst Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) originated the event in 1988. Ever since Helen Keller inspired Lions to champion the cause in 1925, LCIF has served and advocated for the blind and visually impaired.  They are now one of many organizations worldwide that take part in the event. Today, it is co-sponsored by The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  The IAPB coordinates World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative.

This year’s event is the seventh annual World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative at the direction of IAPB and WHO. The goal of all World Sight Day partners is to prevent avoidable blindness and improve quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. This year’s call to action is Vision First.  

The goals, as set forth by IAPB, for World Sight Day are:

  • Raise public awareness of blindness & vision impairment as major international public health issues
  • Influence Governments/Ministers of Health to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs
  • Educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities

By the Numbers

The numbers are staggering but have improved slightly since 1990. Most cases of vision impairment are avoidable if given the proper care.  The following statistics are taken from both LCIF and IAPB.

  • 253 million people are blind or have moderate to severe distance vision impairment (MSVI)
  • 1 billion have near-vision impairment simply because they don’t have a pair of glasses
  • >75% of all blindness and MSVI is avoidable
  • 89% of people with visual impairment live in developing countries
  • 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women
  • The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015.

To look at a visual representation of statistics and/or to view statistics projected through 2020 check out IAPB’s Vision Atlas.

Ways to Save Your Sight

Make sure you go for regular eye exams.  Enhanced vision states that early, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential for preventing avoidable blindness and preserving sight. Regular comprehensive exams from an eye care professional can help detect signs and symptoms of many sight-robbing diseases.  Before you head to your exam learn about any family history of vision problems. Many preventable vision problems run in families.  You must also take all medications as prescribed.

For minor eye corrections reading glasses may be purchased over the counter. One example of a new, distinctive, fashionable high-quality line of reading glasses that are worn high on the nose are the Boca Linear Reading Glasses.

WebMD points out that good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

It’s also a good idea to either limit electronic screen time or use safety equipment to help prevent eye glare and strain. The Reticare 17.3″ Universal Laptop Eye Protector is an example of such a device. This eye protector not only protects the screen of your electronic device, it protects your eyes from glare and toxic light emanating from the display of your device.

Lastly, as shared previously, it’s important to  use adequate lighting in everything that you do to help prevent eye strain and glare. This 24 Watt Better Vision Floor Lamp by OttLite is a perfect example of lighting that adjusts to your needs. This lamp emits a very “natural” 24 watts of light, which reduces glare and increases contrast. A weighted base gives it stability, and its flexible top section allows you to position the light exactly where you need it. The height of the lamp can be adjusted between 4 and 5 feet.

For more options to make every day living more accessible and carefree please visit independent living aids, LLC.