World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness created to help focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of those with visual impairments. Each year the event is held on the second Thursday of October.
World Sight Day is observed globally by those involved in preventing visual impairment or restoring sight. It is also the main advocacy event for the prevention of blindness. 80% of blindness is preventable and 9 out of 10 people who are blind live in the developing world.
Some of the international key messages World Sight Day promotes every year are as follows:
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
Restoration of sight and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care
The number of people blind from infectious causes had greatly reduced in the past 20 years
An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired
About 65% of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises only 20% of the world’s population
Increasing elderly populations in many countries mean that more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment