World Sight Day 2012 (WSD-12) is observed globally each year on the second Thursday in the month of October. No global theme has been assigned for WSD-12 so as to allow all organizations that observe WSD to highlight their area of interest and to bring it to the focus of target audiences.
Globally, people are living longer than ever before. Along with longevity, chronic health conditions are also on the rise and blindness is one of them! It is a matter of great concern that 285 million people around the world are visually challenged. Almost 80 percent of the world's blind people are above the age of 50 years. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the blind live in poorer countries where older people, especially older women, are unable to get proper treatment for their eye. Ironically, 80 percent of the global visual impairment burden is a result of causes that can be prevented with timely diagnosis and treatment.
AdvertisementThe World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the UN which directs and coordinates matters relating to health, along with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), work together actively to coordinate events related to the World Sight Day. Other organizations, NGOs, communities and associations like the Lions Clubs International, have also been actively promoting the day and its causes for several years. Their aims include -
• To create and raise global awareness on blindness and vision impairment as major public health issues.
• To influence governments to participate avidly in promoting WSD causes and to designate funds for blindness prevention programs.
• To educate target audiences about ways to prevent blindness, about VISION 2020, and to create support for the latter.
Several activities are carried out to observe WSD with a focus on preventable blindness. They include -
- awareness-raising walks,
- photo contests with blindness as theme,
- poster displays,
- distributing bookmarks and booklets, and
- planting trees
What is noteworthy is that blindness resulting from many age-related conditions such as cataract, glaucoma or refractive error can easily be treated or even cured. Cataract is one of the leading causes of blindness world wide and its early diagnosis and timely intervention can definitely help to delay or reduce vision impairment.
The need of the hour is, thus, to spread awareness about vision and the need to safeguard it.
Spread Light.....Save the gift of Sight!