World Sight Day: Why It’s Important and How to Observe
Table of Contents
Unless you have significant vision problems, chances are you take your eyesight for granted. And you may not give a lot of thought to what life is like for those with visual impairments. But World Sight Day is just around the corner, which means there’s no better time to adopt a new way of thinking. Although this annual event focuses on preventing blindness through good eye care, it also provides an excellent opportunity to support people who have suffered vision loss.
In honor of the day, we’ve put together some helpful information about this event, including how it came to be, why it’s important, and what you can do to take action…
What Is World Sight Day?
World Sight Day is an annual event hosted by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) that highlights the importance of eye health. More specifically, it’s a time to draw attention to eyesight-related issues and advocate for universal access to vision care. On this day—and the days leading up to it—people are encouraged to prioritize the well-being of their eyes, contribute to blindness prevention programs, and acknowledge blindness and vision impairment as significant global public health concerns.
What Is the History of World Sight Day?
World Sight Day was introduced by the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) in 1990 as part of the organization’s SightFirst Campaign. The LCIF launched this event as a special day of service for clubs around the world. Members were and continue to be encouraged to carry out a variety of sight-related projects, such as vision screenings and eyeglasses donations.
The LCIF’s annual event was then incorporated into VISION 2020, a global initiative set up by the WHO and IAPB, in 2000. Since then, World Sight Day has become an important event among individuals and organizations across the globe. In fact, it’s viewed as the major yearly public relations and advocacy event in eye health.
For several years now, the IAPB has been responsible for selecting the theme and developing the materials for each event.
When Is It Celebrated?
Every year, World Sight Day takes place on the second Thursday of October. For 2021, this annual day of awareness is set for October 14. However, it’s worth noting that many organizations celebrate all month long. This just means you have more opportunities to get involved and make a difference!
What Is This Year’s Theme?
As mentioned above, World Sight Day has a unique theme each year. The theme for 2021 is Love Your Eyes. The IAPB notes that “#LoveYourEyes is all about being aware of your own eye health and if you are able to, get a sight test or recommend others do the same.”
Some of the themes for previous years include the following:
- 2020 – Hope in Sight
- 2019 – Vision First
- 2018 – Eye Care Everywhere
- 2017 – Make Vision Count
- 2016 – Stronger Together
- 2015 – Eye Care for All
- 2014 – No More Avoidable Blindness
- 2013 – Universal Eye Health
- 2010 – Countdown to 2020
- 2009 – Gender and Eye Health
- 2008 – Fighting Vision Impairment in Later Life
- 2007 – Vision for Children
- 2006 – Low Vision
- 2005 – The Right to Sight
Why Is This Event Important?
World Sight Day is important because it puts a spotlight on eye health. According to the WHO, at least 2.2 billion people around the globe have a vision impairment. Of these cases, nearly half could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed. A big part of this event involves educating people about preventable blindness and ways to ensure everyone has the care they deserve. By working together, we can all play a role in combating the global eye health crisis.
Further, World Sight Day also provides us with the chance to learn about the challenges faced by those who have suffered vision loss. Although the primary goal is to decrease cases of preventable blindness and vision impairment through proper eye care, those already living with reduced eyesight shouldn’t be overlooked. By understanding how such individuals handle the day-to-day, we can gain valuable insight and take steps to make the world more inclusive for them by…
- Installing braille signage in public buildings
- Offering accessible technology in workplaces
- Providing access to equitable transportation
- Ensuring websites are compatible with screen readers
- Giving teacher and peer assistance in classrooms
How Can You Observe World Sight Day?
As mentioned above, this year’s theme is Love Your Eyes. The IAPB is aiming to get 1 million people to have their eyes tested. So, to observe World Sight Day, you can start by making a pledge to schedule an eye exam at your local clinic. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your vision checked, this is the perfect opportunity to do it.
Here are some other ways you can mark the event:
- Encourage friends and family members to have their eyes tested as well.
- Educate yourself on sight loss prevention and proper eye care.
- Contribute to organizations such as Optometry Giving Sight.
- Donate eyeglasses to others in need.
- Sign up to volunteer with those who are blind or visually impaired.
- Post about World Sight Day on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourEyes.
- Stay up to date on vision-related news and legislation.
Additionally, you can make sure those with visual impairments have equal access to your building. If you own, manage, or work in a facility that’s open to the public, you must have displays in place that meet ADA sign specifications. Otherwise, you risk going against the Americans with Disabilities Act and unintentionally discriminating against people with disabilities. So, check out the signage in your building and determine whether new or updated displays are needed.
World Sight Day serves as a reminder about the importance of eye health, which affects education, employment, and overall quality of life. More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from vision-related problems, and many of these cases could have been prevented with proper eye care. That’s why it’s worth doing your part to raise awareness about the global eye health issue and support those with limited vision.
So, to observe this upcoming event, look for ways you can educate yourself and others and take action. If you find yourself in need of ADA-compliant signs that allow individuals with visual impairments to navigate your building, contact Erie Custom Signs.