World Sight Day

World Sight Day is a holiday designed to raise public awareness about vision impairment and blindness. It is observed on the second Thursday of every year and has been celebrated since 2000. Each year, it is celebrated with a special theme.

However, in the first five years it was observed, there was no corresponding theme, nor was there a theme in 2011 or 2012. The first year it was observed with a theme was in 2005 when the theme was “The Right To Sight.” Recent themes for this holiday include “Vision First” in 2019 and “Hope In Sight” in 2020.

The History of World Sight Day

World Sight Day was originally observed by the Lions Club on October 12, 2000, as part of their SightFirst Campaign. Not long after, the holiday was observed and promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). It is a holiday now observed all over the world.

Facts About Blindness

Even though some people believe they know quite a lot about blindness, the fact is that most people do not know nearly as much as they should about a condition that affects so many people globally. To address this issue, we have decided to list some of the facts about blindness that we have come across while researching World Sight Day.

  • Only about 15% of people who are blind see nothing at all.
  • Anne Sullivan was the companion and teacher of Helen Keller. She was nearly blinded by an infection at the age of 8 but later regained some vision after medical intervention.
  • It has been estimated that up to 80% of vision problems worldwide could be cured or avoided with prompt medical care and regular eye examinations.
  • Approximately 70% of blind people in the U.S. experience a medical condition known as Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.
  • Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder is when a person’s natural sleep cycle is out of alignment.
  • The leading cause of blindness is age-related cataracts, accounting for 51% of all blindness cases.

Observing World Sight Day

On this day, many different groups work together with the IAPB and the WHO to promote the day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about visual impairment and blindness and to lobby health ministers to designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.

Some people participate in fundraising activities for programs that advocate for the blind, distribute literature raising awareness about preventable blindness, and take part in seminars that address issues that blind people face worldwide. People also use the hashtag #WorldBlindnessDay to spread the word about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 10 Thursday
Next year (2025)
October 9 Thursday
Last year (2023)
October 12 Thursday
Health & Body