October 8th marks the 20th World Sight Day. This is an event held annually on the second Thursday in October by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, or IAPB.
World Sight Day (WSD) is observed in countries all over the world. The goal of the day is to promote awareness and advocate for the millions of people around the world who have some form of visual impairment. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing day!
Why Observe World Sight Day?
If you have a refractive error like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, chances are you have access to glasses or contacts that can correct your vision. But not everyone who needs glasses has access to them.
Almost one billion people worldwide have impaired vision that could have been prevented or is left uncorrected. Many of these people don’t have access to glasses or have suffered visual loss from common conditions that lead to blindness when left untreated.
This may include conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. These people are also more likely to live in low-income countries and belong to ethnic minority groups. They’re also more likely to be women, older adults, and people living with disabilities.
Everyone deserves to be able to see and should have access to care that allows them to see and prevent vision loss. Highlighting the absence of this care helps spread awareness of the issue.
It motivates people to speak up in governments around the world to implement better infrastructures for eye care.
Hope In Sight
Each year, WSD has a new call to action. This is the theme for the event that drives the messaging and actions taken to advocate with citizens around the world in need of eye care.
2020’s call to action is Hope in Sight. This theme focuses on showing how visual aids and proper eye care can positively affect people’s lives.
What Can You Do to Support WSD?
There’s a lot you can do to help out with WSD! One simple thing you can do is to spread the word on social media with the hashtags #WorldSightDay and #HopeInSight.
You can also encourage friends and family to have eye exams if they haven’t been having them regularly, especially if they’re older.
Are you a photographer? No matter your skill level, you can submit a photo for this year’s International Photography Contest.
The picture should fit the theme of Hope In Sight and show the impact of good eye health. To learn more about the competition, visit photocomp.iapb.org.
If you’re really motivated to make the most of WSD, you can organize events with your local eye care specialists. Challenge them to draw media attention by inviting local celebrities to partake in events through video clips or even on social media.
If possible, help find a safe and legal way to make bold statements by projecting the logo for WSD onto well-known buildings in your area, or blindfolding prominent statues.
Whether you get deeply involved in this year’s event or not, remember the message behind WSD. Use it to take any chance you can to advocate for accessible eye healthcare around the world.