4 out of 5 blind people are needlessly so. Many times blindness is avoidable with proper care, protection, or early detection of issues.
Today, Thursday October 8th is officially World Sight Day (WSD). It’s not necessarily meant to be a global day of celebrating sight, it’s more about how not everyone is fortunate enough to have sight or to even have the opportunity to correct vision impairment. Per the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), “World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.”
2015 is the third year the WHO Global Action Plan and IAPB encourages their members and partners to continue with the theme of “Universal Eye Health.” This year, the “Call to Action” for World Sight Day is “eye care for all.” Everyone deserves the access to preventative eye care and the chance to have their vision corrected!
The key messages for WSD awareness from IAPB are as follows:
- Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness
- Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment
- 90% of blind people live in low-income countries
- Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable – i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable
- Restorations of sight, and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care
- The number of people blind from infectious causes has greatly reduced in the past 20 years
- An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired
- About 65 % of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises only 20% of the world’s population
- Increasing elderly populations in many countries mean that more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.
IAPB is sponsoring an #EyeCareForAll Photography competition this year. Read more about entering the competition and the great prizes.