World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

This year too, the theme is ‘Universal Eye Health’, and the ‘Call to Action’ is “Vision First!

The World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners launched the much-anticipated World Report on Vision.

It is unacceptable that more than a billion people are affected by treatable or avoidable sight loss. And this number is projected to balloon in the coming years. Globally more than 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment. Of those at least 1 billion people have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be treated. As usual, this burden is not borne equally: it weighs heavily on people from low- and middle-income countries, women, older persons and those from ethnic minorities.

  • 36 million people who are blind
  • 217 million people with moderate or severe distance vision impairment
  • 1 billion people cannot see well as they lack spectacles
  • Of those with blindness and MSVI, 124million people have uncorrected refractive errors and 65 million have cataract—more than 75% of all blindness and MSVI is avoidable
  • 253 million people blind or vision impaired (in 2015)
  • The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015
  • 89% of vision impaired people live in low and middle-income countries
  • 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women

The World Report recognises that solutions must focus on integrated, people-centred eye care. It urges countries to protect their peoples from financial hardship resulting from accessing eye health, with greater cooperation between eye care and allied sectors like education, labour, social services and the private sector.