The World Council of Optometry is excited to participate in the biggest ever World Sight Day. World Sight Day campaigns have always been enormously important to us at the World Council of Optometry, however, it has always been a challenge to get patients and families to understand the importance of accessing eye care. This year’s World Sight Day campaign will be the biggest yet, this will lead to a wider awareness of the day and a greater understanding of the importance of looking after your eyes. We know that a billion people around the globe are functionally visually impaired, this is often due to a lack of access to appropriate eye care. There are many additional reasons for this gap in receiving care, one reason is the lack of awareness that things can be made better if they would seek an eye exam. Another reason is lack of awareness of need. This year’s WSD, IAPB has set a target of achieving 1 million eye tests. To keep the momentum and encourage people to pledge their test, social media messages and toolkits have been made available in the lead up to the big day. Ultimately, encouraging all regions of the world to talk about eyes and eye health and with the catchy logo and tagline of Love Your Eyes, it is my hope that we will engage many people who had not previously received eye care.
The magnitude of correctable vision impairment from uncorrected refractive error and cataracts is enormous. The World Sight Day campaigns need to reach out so that the folks who are not receiving eyecare, typically vulnerable and unserved folks, know how to reach out and know where to go. There are lots of people that need to hear the message that they do not have to live with reduced vision. Optometry around the world can add to the IAPB voice to share how important it is to get their eyes checked and follow the recommendations of their eye care provider. The World Report on Vision also talked about other non-vision threatening problems such as dry eye. Optometry as a profession is perfectly suited to help educate our patients with dry eye.
Many people go through life with reduced acuity or daily discomfort which can lead to loss of independence and several co-morbid problems. As primary eye care providers, optometry is ready to address the need for eyecare globally so that our patients will function and feel better. We need to band together to deliver services to all even reach out to those who do not have the resources or transportation to access care.
Optometry is excited to be a part of the solution to reduce the magnitude of preventable visual impairment. Having 100 days to make a change in 2021 gives everyone an opportunity to educate more people about the importance of access to eye care for everyone from babies to our elderly. Love your eyes!
Pledge to #LoveYourEyes today!
Image on top: After cataract surgery/ Photo by Ahmed Eid Ibrahim