Blindness and vision impairment prevention

12 October 2017: World Sight Day

On World Sight Day WHO joined partners around the world to issue a call to “Make Vision Count”. The underlying message is for countries to be aware of the extent of blindness and vision impairment so that they know where they stand and can better address this growing public health and development challenge. Around 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide, of which 36 million are blind. The vast majority live in low-income settings. More than 80% are aged 50 years or above. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors and un-operated cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. More than 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Measures to do so should focus on increasing access to quality comprehensive eye care services, including at the community level. World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October, is an important opportunity to advocate for implementation of WHO’s Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014-2019. Its mission is to raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment, influence governments to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programmes and educate the public about blindness prevention.

Related material

Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014-2019

Feature story

Related links