We are delighted to share that more than three million people have pledged to have their eyes tested this World Sight Day! The need for people to get their sight checked is more apparent now than ever, with the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns leading to more time spent on screens, less time spent outdoors, and missed sight exams. On a global scale, evidence shows that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. Up to one-fifth of those are at significant risk of blindness if current trends continue. So, to have so many individuals and organisations committing to more than three million eye exams is a shot in the arm for public health eye care around the world.
IAPB and members have worked hard over the past few months to organise ‘challenge’ eye exams at interesting locations around the world to draw people’s attention to eyes and vision. As part of the #LoveYourEyes campaign, sight tests are being carried out at some of the world’s most famous sights including Mount Everest, Tower Bridge London, Bluff Point New Zealand, Brooklyn Bridge, Mount Kilimanjaro, and more.
Global Support for #LoveYourEyes Campaign
The campaign is also being supported by The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), a non-profit trade association for the video game industry in the UK whose members include Microsoft, Esports, and Nintendo.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is backing the campaign encouraging people to get sight checked and offering advice on how to #LoveYourEyes.
Alarcos Cieza, Unit Head for Vision, Disability and Rehabilitation at the WHO said:
“The last year has been incredibly tough on people, and it has been tough on their eyes too. We have found ourselves spending more time looking at screens, spending less time outside, and we have also had to miss sight check-ups. However, there are a few easy things we can do to show our eyes and our loved ones’ eyes, especially our children’s, some extra care.
“Firstly, book an eye test. Prevention really is better than cure and an eye test often helps detect issues (beyond just your eyesight) before you may notice them yourself.
Secondly, follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes when using devices.
“Thirdly, encourage your child (children) to play outside regularly and spend at least 90 minutes each day outside. This will give your child a screen break and allow them to focus on different distances and spend time in natural light which can help keep your child’s eyes healthy.
“Finally, it is important to wear your glasses as instructed by your eye health professional. It isn’t true that glasses make your vision worse. They will not only help to see clearly but help prevent eyes from straining to see things.”
Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB said “The success of this year’s World Sight Day and our Love Your Eyes campaign has been unparalleled, and I’ve been delighted and proud of what we have done together.
“Every test pledged, every screening held, and every social media message sent has meant that we were able to reach more people than ever before with over 3million pledging to love their eyes. But the scale of the challenge we face is immense. The pandemic struck a massive blow to global eye health, and we must continue to act to save millions from unnecessary blindness”.