World Sight Day (WSD) is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of October to draw attention to blindness and vision impairment. World Sight Day is the most important advocacy and communications day in the eye health calendar. WSD 2019 is on 10th October, 2019. It is coordinated by International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’ Global Initiative.
WHO Global Eye Health Action Plan 2014-2019 aims to reduce avoidable visual impairment as a global public health problem and to provide access to rehabilitation services for the visually impaired. WHO and IAPB encourages all its members and partners to continue with the rolling theme: Universal Eye Health –ensuring that everyone has access to all necessary health services.
This year the call to action is: “Vision First!” to draw attention to eye examination so that everyone, everywhere has access to good vision and eye health. You can plan for an eye examination and look around in your family, especially for those who are vulnerable: young, school going children, the elderly, those with diabetes. It is projected that myopia, diabetic retinopathy, and an ageing world population will increase visual impairment in the coming times.
More than a billion people cannot see well because of the fact that they do not have access to glasses. This World Sight Day, let us work together and find solutions to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to sight.
Let us pledge to make VISION FIRST!
World Sight Day highlights the importance of encouraging blindness prevention efforts; 80% of blindness is avoidable (preventable and/or treatable); 4 out of 5 people have avoidable visual impairment. WSD provides a platform for organizations to support individuals and communities to initiate various preventive measures to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
What is vision 2020?
‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’, is a global initiative to eliminate the main causes of all preventable and treatable blindness as a public health issue by the year 2020. It was launched on February 18, 1999 by the WHO together with IAPB.
Findings of Vision Loss Expert Group Report 2017-
- 253 million people are visually impaired (in 2015).
- 36 million people are blind.
- 217 million people have severe or moderate visual impairment (distance).
- 55% of visually impaired people are women.
National Programme for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment, a 100% centrally sponsored scheme from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India was introduced in 1976 for prevention of blindness, visual impairment through the provision of comprehensive eye care services and to enhance community awareness on eye care in India. Various activities/ initiatives are targeted towards achieving the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by the year 2020. National Prevalence of Childhood Blindness/ Low Vision is 0.80 per thousand. Cataract, Refractive Error, Corneal Blindness, Glaucoma are the main causes of blindness.
Tips for healthy eyes-
- Eat well: Include more green vegetables and yellow and red fruits in your diet.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking is a risk factor for cataract, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays.
- Use safety glasses or protective goggles during hazardous work.
- Look away from the computer screen: Rest your eyes every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Maintain proper hygiene: Wash your hands properly before rubbing your eyes or even touching your eyes.
- Go for regular eye check-ups.
- Avoid over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for eye infections.
- Exercise regularly as regular exercise not only keeps your body fit but also makes your eyes healthy.
“Get your eyes tested and look around in your family for those who need an eye check-up”