World Sight Day
World Sight Day is a global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.
What Do People Do?
The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are actively involved in coordinating events and activities for World Sight Day. Associations such as Lions Clubs International have also been actively involved in promoting the day on an annual basis for many years.
Many communities, associations, and non-government organizations work together with WHO and IAPB to promote the day for the following purposes:
- To raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
- To influence governments, particularly health ministers, to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.
- To educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and its activities, and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities.
Some people plant trees to commemorate World Sight Day and while others submit a photo for an international photo montage that focuses on the theme of blindness. Other activities include taking part in awareness-raising walks or distributing and displaying posters, bookmarks, booklets and other forms of information the raise awareness about preventable blindness.
World Sight Day is a global observance but it is not a nationwide public holiday.
The world's population is ageing and people are living longer but blindness from chronic conditions is also rising, according to WHO. About 80 percent of the world's 45 million blind people are aged over 50 years. About 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries, where older people, especially older women, face barriers to getting the necessary eye health care. Yet, many age-related conditions leading to blindness – such as cataract, refractive error and glaucoma – can be easily and cheaply treated or cured. Timely intervention can often delay or reduce their effects on vision.
Lions Clubs International partnered with blindness prevention organizations worldwide to commemorate the first World Sight Day on October 8, 1998. This event was later integrated into VISION 2020, a global initiative that the IAPB coordinates. This initiative is a joint program between WHO and the IAPB. It involves non-government organizations, and professional associations, as well as eye care institutions and corporations.
World Sight Day Observances
|Thu||Oct 14||2010||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 13||2011||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 11||2012||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 10||2013||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 9||2014||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 8||2015||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 13||2016||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 12||2017||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 11||2018||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 10||2019||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
|Thu||Oct 8||2020||World Sight Day||United Nations observance|
Quick FactsWorld Sight Day is annually held on the second Thursday of October to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment.
World Sight Day 2016Thursday, October 13, 2016
World Sight Day 2017Thursday, October 12, 2017
Name in other languages
|World Sight Day||English|
|Día Mundial de la Visión||Spanish|
|עולם יום הראייה||Hebrew|
|يوم الرؤية العالمي||Arabic|
|세계 시력의 날||Korean|
|Welttag des Sehens||German|