World Sight Day
Also known as
Lions World Sight Day
the second Thursday in October (since 1998)
Lions Club International in 1998
World Sight Day is an international day of awareness that focuses attention on the global issue of eye health and aims to eliminate blindness and visual impairment. Individuals think about the importance of their own eye health, but particular focus is put on the eye health of those living in developing countries, where an overwhelming majority of those with blindness live. World Sight Day was created in 1998 by Lions Club International with the goals of eradicating reversible and preventable blindness and encouraging people to have eye exams regularly. It is also known as Lions World Sight Day, a name that was most frequently used early on.
From its start, World Sight Day has been a global initiative. Major media events were held on six continents during the first observance. To raise awareness, a giant eye chart was projected on the House of Parliament in London, as well as on sites in Hong Kong, Cape Town, São Paulo, New York City, and Sydney. The Lions Club International continues to organize activities for the day. They collect eyeglasses to be redistributed and accept the donation of assistive devices for the visually impaired; they conduct vision screenings and eye health education programs.
World Sight Day became an official event of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in 2000 and is now coordinated by them. Until 2020, it was part of their VISION 2020 program. They put together materials for the day and usually set a different theme for it each year. They organize events and activities, such as the EVERYONE COUNTS Global Challenge, although many events are organized by others, such as those organized by the Lions.
With there being a billion people around the world with visual impairment who don't have access to eye care services, and because 80% of visual impairment can be treated or prevented, World Sight Day remains an essential holiday. People of all ages have issues with vision impairment, but most are over the age of 50. Its main causes are uncorrected refractive error and unoperated cataracts. Other causes include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, as well as eye trauma and disease. Eyes can be an indicator of overall health, and eye health can affect many aspects of life, like daily personal activities, interactions with others, school and work performance, and access to public services. For all these reasons, sights are set on global eye health today.
How to Observe World Sight Day
There are numerous ways you could take part:
- Make a pledge to get an eye exam, and then schedule one. Use social media to encourage others to do the same.
- Create and share a World Sight Day poster.
- Browse the IAPB's World Sight Day webpage for information about their photo competition and this year's theme, and find additional resources on their toolkits and promotional material webpage.
- Take part in the EVERYONE COUNTS Global Challenge.
- Check if a Lions Club near you is collecting eyeglasses, conducting vision screenings, hosting an eye health education program, or taking part in another way.