Mediconnect Awareness Mission- World Sight Day – 10th October
What is World Sight Day ?
World Sight Day (WSD), held on the second Thursday of October, is a yearly day of awareness, which puts the spotlight on global attention on vision impairment and blindness. This is a worldwide event, which this year is on 10th October, 2013. This event is managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) who coordinate with each other for various events and activities on this day.
The aims of World Sight Day:
- Persuade the governments or the health ministers to contribute in and allocate funds for national blindness prevention programs
- To raise public awareness on blindness and vision impairment in the form of a major international public health concern
- Alert the target audiences about prevention of blindness and concerned activities
Following are the chief messages which are extremely important for a common man to be aware of:
- Around 285 million people all around the globe suffer from low vision and blindness
- Out of the above written number, 90 percent of these people live in countries with low-income
- Of these people, around 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment
- So far, 80 percent of visual impairment is avoidable, that is it can be treated or prevented
- The number of blind people because of infection has vastly reduced in the past 20 years
- The best and affordable means of health care is restoration of sight and blindness prevention plans
- Almost 65 percent of visually impaired people are aged 50 or above, comprising 20 percent of the population of the world
- An increase in the population of the elderly in countries means more people are going to be at risk of age-related visual impairment issues
- About 19 million children are visually impaired
Stress On Prevention
To concentrate on avoidable blindness that is caused by uncorrected refractive error that is a simple requirement for eye examination and glasses.
World Sight Day Challenge!
The main challenge on World Sight Day is the biggest annual global fundraising issue.
WSD means renewed hope for eyes, eye-related issues, their solution and vision- care for all.
Visual impairment and blindness
These eye-related issues include eyeglasses, low vision, contact lenses, medicine, or a condition where surgery might not help. One might face difficulties in daily activities such as watching TV, reading, writing, shopping and cooking. The prime reasons of low vision and blindness are age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract. Any kind of eye injury, eye disorders and birth defects can also lead to vision loss.
4 levels of visual functions:
- Normal vision
- Moderate visual impairment
- Severe visual impairment
Causes of visual impairment
Following are the causes of visual impairment:
- Uncorrected refractive errors like hyperopia, myopia or astigmatism (43 percent)
- Cataract (33 percent)
- Glaucoma (2 percent)
Who is at risk?
- Around 90 percent visually impaired people who are living in developing countries are at major risk because of little knowledge and proper care.
- People aged 50 and above
Around 65 percent of visually impaired people are 50 and above, and they constitute almost 20 percent of the world population. Since the number of elderly will be increasing, the number of people at risk of age-related visual impairment will also go up.
- Children below age 15
All around the world, around 19 million children are suffering from visual impairment. Out of these, 12 million are visually impaired because of refractive errors (a situation which can be easily diagnosed and corrected). And 1.4 million are irreversibly blind for the rest of their lives.
Global action- plan for prevention of blindness
According to statistics, about 80 percent of all kinds of visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Following are the areas of progress:
Eye- care services have been added into primary and secondary health care systems, where the focus has been on the affordable, available and high-quality services
The governments of the countries founding different national programs for the prevention and control of visual impairment
Making international partnerships even stronger, by engaging the private sector and civil society
Various campaigns to bring and spread awareness, by adding it to school-based education as well
Response of WHO
The role of WHO in coordinating the international efforts for the reduction of visual impairments:
- Developing policies and strategies for prevention of blindness
- Monitoring and evaluating programs
- Offering technical assistance to Member States and partners
- Coordinating international partnerships