World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness, held the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. WSD is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. This year’s theme is Hope in Sight.
Nearly everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime and more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services.
You can make a difference during World Sight Day (and throughout the year) by contributing to organizations dedicated to eradicating global vision impairment and blindness. Your donation can improve the vision of people in your community and around the world.
Ten years ago there were about half a million Canadians living with blindness or a vision disability. Now it’s about 1.5 million, according to Stats Canada. Sadly three in four cases of blindness are avoidable.
Regular eye exams are the best preventative measure, which should be every two years for adults and annually for children and seniors. Testing peripherals is also important since 50% of people living with glaucoma don’t know they have it because it progresses slowly.
Doug Earle, President and CEO of Fighting Blindness Canada, reports that 40% of people living with diabetes do not get regular eye exams. However, they are at significant risk of losing their sight due to a condition of diabetic retinopathy which affects both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. The good news is that seeking treatment early enough can stabilize the condition.
To address the bigger picture of World Sight Day, we must be aware of our own eye health. Show your eyes some love and don’t take your vision for granted. We are fortunate to have access to health care and eye care in this country, so be sure to book a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.