World Sight Day 2017History and Importance of World Sight Day: Make Vision Count

World Sight Day is a daylong event intended to bring global attention to blindness and vision impairment.
World Sight Day always occurs on the second Thursday of October and features a central theme. The fifth annual World Sight Day is on Thursday, October 12, 2017. Its theme is “Make Vision Count.”



About World Sight Day

World Sight Day 2017The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) coordinates World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. IAPB generates the theme and certain core materials for each year’s World Sight Day, while members and supporter organizations manage individual events.

The VISION 2020 Global Initiative is a coalition of international, non-governmental and private organizations that collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO). The lofty goal of the VISION 2020 Global Initiative is to eliminate avoidable blindness as a public health problem by the year 2020, as long as adequate resources are available. Working as a group, the organizations associated with the VISION 2020 Global Initiative also hope to reduce the negative effects of blindness and vision loss. These negative effects can include limited developmental, social and economic development and a decreased quality of life.

History of World Sight Day

While 2017 is the fifth annual World Sight Day under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative at the direction of WHO and IAPB, the SightFirst Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) originated the event in 1990.

LCIF is a global leader in providing support to help prevent avoidable blindness and restore sight for people living in all parts of the world. LCIF hosts a number of sight programs, including programs that help support the development and improvement of eye care systems, provide resources for sight-restoring surgeries and treatments, and distribute medications to those at highest risk for eye diseases. Through collaborative efforts with their partners, local healthcare authorities, eye care professionals, other non-governmental organizations and Lions, SightFirst have helped at least 30 million people have improved or restored vision.

Make Vision Count

This year’s theme is “Make Vision Count.” IAPB explains the theme by saying, “This World Sight Day, let’s get the numbers out, so we know where we stand.” Here are the numbers IAPB wants everyone to know.

Preventable blindness, by the numbers

Today, about 36 million people across the globe are blind. Four out of five cases of blindness are avoidable. That means 80 percent of people who are blind should not have lost their sight.

Another 217 million people have moderate to severe vision impairment (MSVI). This means they are not completely blind, but have limited vision.

The major causes of preventable blindness include:

Uncorrected refractive errors account for 43 percent of global cases of preventable blindness, unoperated cataracts cause about 33 percent of avoidable blindness cases, and glaucoma is responsible for 2 percent of needless blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is becoming a major cause of preventable blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects people with diabetes, a condition characterized by fluctuating blood sugar levels. At high levels, the sugar in blood can damage the blood vessels in the light-sensitive layer of tissue lining the back of the eye. About 285 million people worldwide have diabetes; about one-third of these individuals have diabetic retinopathy and another third show signs of the vision-robbing disease.

Statistics about preventable blindness risk factors

Location: Approximately 90 percent of visually impaired people live in impoverished nations.
Advancing age: About 65 percent of people with visual impairments are aged 50 and older.
Young age: Approximately 19 million children are visually impaired; 12 million of these cases of childhood visual impairment are the result of easily diagnosable and treatable refractive errors. About 1.4 million children have irreversible, lifelong vision loss.

# Steps for Preventing Avoidable Blindness and Preserving Sight

  1. Get regular eye care. Early, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential for preventing avoidable blindness and preserving sight. Regular comprehensive exams from an eye care professional can help detect signs and symptoms of many sight-robbing diseases.
  2. Learn about any family history of vision problems. Many preventable vision problems run in families.
  3. Eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly. Diet and exercise can help manage blood sugar levels to reduce the risk for diabetic retinopathy. Regular exercise may reduce blood pressure to prevent glaucoma.
  4. Take all medications as prescribed. Glaucoma eye drops can prevent high pressure inside the eyeball from turning into glaucoma, for example. Insulin can control blood sugar to reduce blood vessel damage inside the eye associated with diabetic retinopathy. Blood pressure medication can help prevent hypertensive retinopathy, a condition where high blood pressure damages the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
  5. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Smoking and excessive use of alcohol each increases the risk of cataracts and other eye problems.
  6. Wear eye protection. Eye injuries are another major cause of preventable blindness.
  7. Promote World Sight Day. Download logos, posters, and ribbons from the IAPD website.

With worldwide cooperation from individuals, eye care professionals, health administrators and non-governmental agencies, World Sight Day may someday soon make preventable blindness a thing of the past.





World Sight Day 2017

WSD17 Promotional Material