Health Days 2020

World Sight Day

​Eyes play an important role in movement and enjoyment of life. Therefore, it is important to maintain the eye health well; as it has the only job of capturing light, then all different parts of the eye system work together and connect with neurons that transmit and translate messages directly to the brain as visual images. The World Sight Day is globally observed on the second Thursday of October each year. World Sight Day was first celebrated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, to increase awareness to preserve the eye and prevent blindness.

  • Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.
  • Nearly 90% of blind people live in developing countries.
  • The two main causes of vision impairment are: refractive errors and uncorrected cataracts.
  • People with low vision are more than 50 years old.
Vision impairment:
The International Classification of Diseases 11 (2018) classifies vision impairment into two groups, distance and near presenting vision impairment. 

Distance vision impairment:
  • Mild – presenting visual acuity worse than 6/12
  • Moderate – presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18
  • Severe – presenting visual acuity worse than 6/60
  • Blindness – presenting visual acuity worse than 3/60.
Near vision impairment:
  • Presenting near visual acuity worse than N6 or M.08 with existing correction.
It is noteworthy that a person’s experience of vision impairment varies depending upon many different factors. This includes for example, the availability of prevention and treatment interventions, access to vision rehabilitation (including assistive products such as glasses or white canes), and whether the person experiences problems with inaccessible buildings, transport and information. Population growth and ageing are expected to increase the risk that more people acquire vision impairment.  

With regards to distance vision:
  • 188.5 million people have mild vision impairment.
  • 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment.
  • 36 million people are blind.
With regards to near vision: 
  • 826 million people live with a near vision impairment.
  • Globally, the leading causes of vision impairment are:
  • Uncorrected refractive errors.
  • Cataract.
  • Age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Glaucoma.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. 
  • Corneal opacity. 
  • Trachoma. 
There is some variation in the causes across countries. For example, the proportion of vision impairment attributable to cataract is higher in low- and middle-income countries than high-income countries. In high income countries, diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are more common.
Among children, the causes of vision impairment vary considerably across countries. For example, in low-income countries congenital cataract is a leading cause, whereas in high-income countries it is more likely to be retinopathy of prematurity.

Strategies to address vision impairment:
According to statistics, around 80% of vision impairments at the international level could be prevented. Effective interventions are available for prevention and treatment of eye diseases. For example, uncorrected refractive error can be corrected with glasses while cataract surgery can restore vision. Moreover, vision rehabilitation is also effective in improving functioning for people with an irreversible vision impairment.

  • Raise awareness about the importance of blindness prevention. 
  • Raise the level of health awareness of eye health and safety among all community members by means of highlighting common eye diseases, methods of treatment and prevention.
  • Enabling everyone to have access to comprehensive eye care services. 
Official date:
Globally: October 8th, 2020.
Locally: Safar 21st, 1442H.

(Hope In Sight)​

Last Update : 06 October 2020 05:10 PM
Reading times :