World Sight Day (WSD) is annually observed across the globe on the second Thursday of October to focus the world’s attention on eye health as a global issue and to recognise the work done by the thousands of ophthalmologists across the world to fix the problem of vision impairment.
- World Sight Day is also known as ‘World Eye Day’ or ‘World Vision Day’.
WSD 2023 falls on 12th October 2023.
- WSD 2022 was observed on 13th October 2022 and WSD 2024 will be observed on 10th October 2024.
The theme of World Sight Day 2023 is “Love Your Eyes at Work”.
- The theme focuses on helping people understand the importance of protecting their vision in the workplace and calling on business leaders to prioritise the eye health of workers, everywhere.
WSD is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and supported by almost 200 IAPB Member organisations globally.
i.The establishment of WSD was started by the SightFirst campaign of the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
- Started in 1990, this campaign aimed to fight blindness due to trachoma and other causes of blindness.
ii.In 2000, LCIF integrated “World Sight Day”, an event launched as a part of their SightFirst campaign, with VISION 2020.
iii.It was formally launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1999. In 2000, WDS became a part of IAPB.
iv.LCIF partnered with blindness presentation organizations worldwide and observed the first-ever WSD on 8 October 1998.
Love Your Eyes Campaign:
i.IAPB originally launched the Love Your Eyes campaign as part of WSD in 2021, to make eye health accessible, available, and affordable for everyone by 2030.
ii.In 2023, IAPB’s “Love Your Eyes Campaign” secured the “Best Campaign of the Year” award at the Association of Associations Executives (AAE‘s) International & European Association Awards.
Efforts of WHO:
i.WHO and its Member States at its 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2021, adopted 2 new global targets for eye care by 2030:
- A 30% point increase in effective Cataract Surgery Coverage (eCSC), and
- A 40% point increase in effective Refractive Error Coverage (eREC).
ii.These indicators and related targets are intended to drive increases in eye care coverage while delivering high-quality care.
iii.In 2023, WHO launched the Action Plan for Integrated People-Centered Eye Care in South-East Asia 2022-2030 to strengthen our eye health care strategy in alignment with global and regional initiatives.
Note: According to WHO, globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a near or distant vision impairment.
To facilitate better screening, WHO has developed a free mobile application ‘WHO eyes’ that would enable individuals to check their vision, without the need for the eye care provider.
i.Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones, Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Duchess of Edinburgh, who serves as the Global Ambassador of IAPB visited Ethiopia to celebrate the transformative work of the international eye care charity, Orbis
ii.The United Nations (UN) marked WSD with the first-ever ‘blurred’ photo exhibition titled, ‘2030 IN SIGHT’ in the corridors of the UN headquarters in New York (USA). This underscores the relationship between eye health and sustainable development.
The exhibit is a powerful interpretation of a central argument outlined in the first UN resolution on vision and the WHO World Report on Vision.
Event in India:
i.The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observed WDS on 12 October 2023, in alignment with its vision to raise awareness about visual impairments.
ii.DEPwD-affiliated institutions hosted a range of events across India to educate the public about visual impairment issues and prevention.
Note: DEPwD is the nodal department to look after all the development agenda of Persons with Disabilities in India.