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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.

Is World Sight Day a Public Holiday?

World Sight Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Looking through eyeglasses at an eye exam chart.

World Sight Day raises awareness about blindness and vision impairment, as well as the provision of eye health care .

©iStockphoto.com/Gene Chutka

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.

Public Life

World Sight Day is a global observance but it is not a nationwide public holiday.

Background

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015ThuOct 8World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2016ThuOct 13World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2017ThuOct 12World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2018ThuOct 11World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2019ThuOct 10World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2020ThuOct 8World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2021ThuOct 14World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2022ThuOct 13World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2023ThuOct 12World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2024ThuOct 10World Sight DayWorldwide observance
2025ThuOct 9World Sight DayWorldwide observance

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