October marks the beginning of my favorite time of year, Fall. I hope everyone is enjoying their pumpkin and apple spiced desserts and treats as the weather starts to cool down in San Diego. The second Thursday of October is also a day when we recognize global eye health and preventable blindness on World Sight Day. This international day of awareness focuses attention on the global issue of eye health and is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
More than 75% of all blindness and moderate to severe vision impairment is avoidable, and World Sight Day provides a platform for organizations to encourage governments, corporations, institutions, and individuals to actively support universal access to eye health. The recent World Health Assembly resolution for eye health marks the next major milestone for global eye health. #HopeInSight was created to make eye care an integral part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and to implement ‘integrated people-centered eye care’.
So, what can we do to spread awareness? Here are some ideas:
- Photo competition: Take part in this International Photography Competition with the theme “Hope in Sight” and sub-theme “COVID-19 and eye health” by sending in photos that highlight the impact of eye health on people’s lives. You can visit photocomp.iapb.org for more information.
- Pledge: Ask your health official or key stakeholder to join you in pledging support for blindness prevention efforts and identify a list of activities you can do locally to help reduce avoidable blindness in your community.
- Eye Examination: Organize a chain – ask every customer who walks in for an eye exam to bring in two more customers and inform them of the importance of a comprehensive eye exam in reducing avoidable blindness from conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, refractive error, and diabetic retinopathy.
- Social Media: Use the hashtags #WorldSightDay and #HopeInSight when posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
With your support, organizations such as these can continue their mission to reduce preventable blindness and vision impairment throughout the world and change the lives of so many. Have a happy and healthy October!