Health Days 2014
World Sight Day
What is the initiative of the “Vision 2020: the Right to Sight” about?
 “Vision 2020: the Right to Sight” it is a global initiative launched by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). It aims at developing the programs and plans for eliminating the avoidable blindness by 2020. Many governmental institutions participate in such initiative including the Ministry of Health (MOH), governmental organizations and non-governmental ones meant for treating the eye diseases, blindness elimination and rehabilitating the weak-sighted.  
 
 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joining
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was among the first states to sign the initiative support document of the “Vision 2020: the Right to Sight” in 1422H, corresponding to 2001. As a result, a royal decree was issued approving establishing a Saudi National Committee for the Prevention of Blindness (NPBC); with the aim of supporting and activating this initiative. As such, the NPBC was founded with a view to boosting and developing all the means with the aim of the prevention of blindness and visual impairment that can be avoided. This is through drawing on the latest on what the evidence-based medicine reached, intensifying training and encouraging the medical research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
 
In 2013, the Kingdom was among the first states to sign, and it urged the WHO member states to sign the WHO’s action plan in its sixty-sixth session “Comprehensive Outreach for the Eye Health Care 2014-2019). This action plan aims at increasing the opportunities of getting the services of the eye health care approved within the frame of the health systems.   To that effect, the MOH established the National Program for Eye Health; in order to jumpstart the WHO’s action plan, that’s to say;   the Comprehensive Outreach for the Eye Health Care.
 
World Sight Day 2014:

  • The World Sight Day is an awareness day celebrated globally; during which the blindness and visual impairment are highlighted.
  • It is marked annually on the 2nd of October.
  • The World Sight Day falls on October 9th, 2014/ Dhul-Hijjah 15th, 1435H.
  • In line with the main goal of the new action plan meant for preventing from the avoidable blindness and weak-sightedness, the theme of the World Sight Day 2014: “No More Glaucoma Blindness”. The National Committee for Blindness Elimination was tasked with pinpointing some eye disease to be its main focus, so it went for Glaucoma to be the theme of campaign as mentioned here.
  • Each year, an aspect of the topic approved for developing the “Call to Action” is to be highlighted. Similarly, the call to measuring the eye pressure periodically was approved as measuring the eye pressure is first reference and step for diagnosing and treating practically the eye pressure measurement condition, vision field, and nerve situation. Therefore, the society should be urged on the initiative of measuring eye pressure to be a strong call to action which can be included as part of the basic fields for blindness elimination.   
 
Global Facts:

  • Geographically-speaking, the spread of visual impairment worldwide is uneven.
  • 90% of the weak-sighted people live in low-income or medium-income states.
  • The number of visually impaired persons is estimated at over 285 million people, of which 39 millions are afflicted with blind, and 246 millions are weak-sighted.
  • The Mediterranean East region including the Gulf States, and the Kingdom alike, accounts for 12.5 percent of the blindness rate worldwide.
  • 80% of the vision impairment cases are avoidable, and can be prevented or treated.
  • The cataract, 51 percent; 19.7 million cases, is among the principal causes of blindness.Cataract surgery and redressing the refractive errors top the medical interventions conducive to make a success.
  • Uncorrected the refractive errors, 43 percent, is among the caused resulting in avoidable blindness.
  • Over 120 million people suffer from weak-sightedness resulting from the   uncorrected the refractive errors: short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism. All these people can nearly restore their vision by the eye glasses, contact lens or surgical intervention.
  • Within the next nine years, the number of the blind at the age of 50 and over will increase in the regions affiliated to the WHO, namely in china, India, Southeast Asia and Mediterranean East region unless the necessary procedures of preventing and treating are taken for fighting the principal causes of the vision impairments.
  • Causes of weak-sightedness and blindness resulting from aging are increasing due to uncontrollable diabetic level.
  • Eliminating the blindness case caused by the infectious diseases, such as onchocerciasis and  trachoma causing blindness, in the countries affected, thanks to establishing effective, innovative partnerships between the governmental and private sectors.
  • Over decades, the WHO, its member states and international partners continues its work towards eliminating the main causes of the avoidable blindness through providing the technical assistance and detection and coordination services.
  • Over 1.4 million children are afflicted with blind. Among the principal causes of child suffering from the cataract-caused blindness are retinopathy Of Prematurity and vitamin A deficiency. And, half of the blind cases afflicting the children can be avoided or treated. Still, a global program, the yield of an existing partnership between the WHO and Lions Clubs International (LCI), implemented in 30 countries, and provides the children with the eye care services.
  • Every five seconds, someone is afflicted with blindness; and every minute, a child is afflicted with blindness. It is estimated that seven million people are afflicted with blindness annually.
  • As close as half million children lose their vision every year. Most of them die before completing a year as a result of blindness-associated diseases; most of them are inherited.
  • Globally, approximately two thirds of the visually impaired are females, 60 percent. Still, females outlive males; this in turn renders them more vulnerable to the cataract and weak-sightedness. They are also short of the treatment opportunities.
  • The loss of the world economic product due to the productivity shortage resulting from the vision impairment and blindness will surpass trillion Saudi Riyals every year by 2020. 
 
Theme of the World Sight Day:
“No More Glaucoma Blindness”
 
 
Idea of the World Sight Day Theme:
The idea behind the World Sight Day revolves around the Braille writing system. It is a globally approved method for teaching the blind. Braille writing system depends on a cell made up of six main points: three on the right; and three on the left. These six points constitute all the letters to become words. Each Braille-based letter is formed through the embossing of some points in the cell made up of six points unlike the others, in turn constituting a letter to enable the blind to read through touching. As regards the points in the theme of the World Sight day stands for three Letters: W/S/D, the initials of the World Sight Day in Braille writing system.
 
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