World Sight Day in October

If you ever needed a platform from which to take action on behalf of eye health, here is a wonderful opportunity to become involved in this effort. October 13, 2011, marks World Sight Day sponsored by Vision 2020, a global initiative seeking to eliminate avoidable blindness.

In recognition of blindness and visual impairment as a globally significant public health issue, Vision 2020 has established an annual World Sight Day to promote international awareness of the main causes of preventable blindness. According to World Health Organization statistics, 286 million people worldwide are visually impaired with 39 million of them categorized as blind. Eighty percent of blindness and visual impairment is avoidable, which means these are health problems that can be treated or prevented through known, cost-effective measures. In fact, restoring sight and preventing blindness are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care.

Around the world on October 13, vision clinics, eye care professionals, corporations, development agencies, policymakers, and individuals just like you will be participating in World Sight Day 2011 activities and events to draw attention to their work and successes in prevention and treatment of blindness and visual impairments. This year, there is no global theme for World Sight Day 2011 to allow for each participating group to customize their target messages to their own audiences.

To give you an idea of the breadth of activities that will take place across the globe this year on World Sight Day, here are some examples from last year:

  • Free eye exams and care clinics
  • Government briefings
  • Fundraising walks/runs in support of non-profit eye health organizations
  • Art exhibits featuring aspects of eye health
  • Eyeglasses giveaways via coupon distribution
  • Parades and rallies
  • Children’s poster and banner contests
  • Distribution of eye health brochures
  • Community lectures on eye health information and resources
  • Television, radio, and print features

The possibilities for involvement on World Sight Day 2011 are limitless. To help you get started, Vision 2020 offers support for initiating an event in your own community. They offer tips for a successful event, promotional materials, logos and mission statements, and case studies of eye-health initiatives. Vision 2020 staff suggest that you to identify your key message, get the word out to media, use the online support materials, and then share your plans with them.

Team up with your eye care provider or local eye-health organization to create an event for World Site Day 2011 in promotion of vision health. Think about how you can make a difference in your own community on this important day. Please share with us how you participated in World Sight Day 2011.