World Sight Day (WSD) is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of October. This year it falls on Thursday, October 12. WSD is coordinated by International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under WHO ‘VISION 2020: the Right to Sight’ Global Initiative.
World Sight Day (WSD) is an international day of awareness, to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The theme of World Sight Day 2017 (WSD 2017) is: Universal Eye Health. The theme is related with the WHO Action Plan 2014-2019 and is being used as a rolling theme. However each year, IAPB focuses on a ‘Call to Action’.
This year, the ‘Call to Action’ for World Sight Day is: Make Vision Count. This World Sight Day, let’s get the numbers out, so we know where we stand.
World Sight Day highlights the importance of encouraging blindness prevention efforts; as the 80% of blindness is avoidable (preventable and/or treatable); 4 out of 5 people have avoidable visual impairment. WSD provides a platform to organizations to support individuals, communities for initiating 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 18 February 1999 by the World Health Organization 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 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India is working since 1976 for prevention of blindness, visual impairment through 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 main causes of blindness. 32nd National Eye Donation Fortnight was celebrated from August 25 - September 8, 2017.
Tips for healthy eyes-
“Look around in your family for eye checkup, especially for those who are vulnerable: Young, school going children, the elderly, those with diabetes and hypertension.”