Today is World Sight Day, which is an annual day of awareness to focus on global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
World Sight Day is held every year on the second Thursday of October and this year’s call to action for the day is “Make Vision Count”.
- Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness.
- Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.
- 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries.
- 80 percent of visual impairment is avoidable – that means they are readily treatable and/or preventable.
- Restorations of sight and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care.
- The number of people blind from infectious causes has greatly reduced in the past 20 years.
- An estimated 19 million children in the world are visually impaired.
- About 65 percent of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises only 20 percent of the world’s population.
- Increasing elderly populations in many countries mean that more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.
Blindness and vision impairment are major international public health issues. The government and Ministers of Health need to designate funds for national blindness prevention programmes to educate its citizens.