Empowering lives through vision: World Sight Day’s importance

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By Lalit Garg 

World Sight Day is celebrated globally on the second Thursday of October every year. This year it falls on Thursday, 12 October. The day is celebrated to create awareness about vision loss, blindness as well as vision-related problems, highlighting the importance of good vision for all people. The theme of World Sight Day 2023 is “Love your eyes at work: Eye care in the workplace!” This theme underlines the importance of prioritizing vision health in the workplace as a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, as modern lifestyles and with the increasing use of computers, laptops, mobiles and other electronic devices at workplaces, the eyes get stressed the most.

In this way, people who spend too much time on the screen are at risk of developing many eye-related diseases over time. Blue light emitted from mobile-computer or television screens is very harmful to the eyes. World Sight Day promotes equal access to eye care services, especially for underprivileged and marginalized populations. This emphasizes the need to make eye care affordable and available to all.

World Sight Day is very important because eye diseases are on the rise across the world. Vision loss affects people of all ages and most affected people are above 50 years of age. The world is becoming blurry due to the increasing number of eye patients. According to WHO, there are more than a billion people who cannot see properly because they do not have access to glasses. Of these, one billion people suffer from preventable vision impairment. Blindness has a long-term impact on every aspect of life such as personal activities, travelling, schooling and work, daily routine, social interaction and conversation. Eyes and their visual acuity are very helpful in the beauty of the body. Poets have praised the eyes by giving similes in their poems, ghazals and songs. In their imagination, when there is a lack of words; the eyes speak, hence it is important to know about the eyes and protect them on Sight Day.

Yes, every part of our body is very precious and important to us. If any of those organs become damaged or weak then we have to face many problems. Not only this, we are also not able to enjoy this life properly. Especially if we talk about the eyes, it is the most important part of our body. This is a unique gift of nature, through which one can see the colours and good and bad things of the entire world. In such a situation, if something happens to the eyes, how colourless will the world become? This is a matter of grave concern for anyone; it is the incompleteness of life. The function of the eyes is to see and to convey the scene message to the brain. The eyes are the most delicate part of the body; hence it is important that we take special care of our eyes. To keep the eyes healthy, it is very important to eat right.

The eyes are that part of the body which makes us feel the beauty of the world. However, with time, the risks associated with it are increasing due to disturbances in lifestyle and eating habits. Be it spending too much time on mobile and computer or diseases like sugar and BP, all these are having an adverse effect on eye health. The main causes of blindness and poor vision in the United States are diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The eye is the organ of living beings which is sensitive to light. Good vision has a profound impact on a person’s quality of life. It enables people to perform daily tasks, receive education, and participate fully in society, contributing to overall well-being.

Sight Day is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which emphasize that ensuring good vision is an integral part of achieving broader global development objectives. World Sight Day promotes global collaboration, uniting individuals and organizations in a shared mission to prevent vision loss and blindness. Every year, the Lions Club Foundation becomes active in raising awareness about blindness and vision loss across the world. Its inspiration was the American writer, peace activist, anti-war political activist, social reformer and motivational speaker Helen Keller, despite being blind herself; she did amazing things. In 1925, when Lions International was only seven years old, the famous Helen Keller challenged Lions members at their annual convention to become ‘knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness’, giving an inspiring address on the prevention of blindness. That speech set a new direction for Lions and since then the Sight First campaign has been eliminating blindness through the Netra-Kranti.

Millions of Lions members around the world are doing remarkable work to help visually impaired people. This effort is being supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). IAPB is a global organization in which various charitable organizations and NGOs from more than 100 countries work together to create a world in which awareness is raised on the issue of blindness, including blindness prevention and finding a cure, through various programs. Many people in some parts of the world are at higher risk of blindness and other optical problems because they do not have adequate access to eye care. World Sight Day provides a perfect inspiration to donate to a charity that helps people who are struggling to get the vision care they need.

Eye health is of utmost importance and vision loss and blindness affect education, employment, quality of life and much more. Therefore, world organizations and individuals must join hands to actively support universal access to eye health and ensure that this mission and vision make sense for everyone. At the 74th World Health Assembly, Member States adopted two global targets: a 40 per cent increase in effective coverage of refractive errors for eye care and a 30 per cent increase in effective coverage of cataract surgery by 2030. The above goals will not only increase global eye care coverage but also provide quality services. Along with taking a pledge to donate eyes, we should extend our helping hand to give improved vision to eye patients, and strengthen humanity and develop balance and equality in the world.

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