World Sight Day 11 October 2012

An annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired , World Sight Day is observed around the world by all partners involved in preventing visual impairment or restoring sight. It is also the main advocacy event for the prevention of blindness and for
“Vision 2020: The Right to Sight”, a global effort to prevent blindness created by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
World Sight Day 2012 (WSD12) falls on official, global date of the second Thursday in October, which is 11 October 2012 this year. It will be marked by organisations and institutions around the world, in many different ways, on or around that date. An estimated 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, and yet preventable causes are as high as 80% of the global visual impairment burden. 90% of blind people live in developing countries, and this needless waste costs individuals, families and communities billions of dollars every year.
There is no global theme for WSD12, which we hope will allow each participating organisation to use the occasion to highlight its own priority areas, in ways which will resonate with their own target audiences. Template press releases and supporting materials will be produced for download from, as the months progress toward October 2012.
In 2011, a new global logo was developed for World Sight Day, based on the Braille symbols which spell “WSD”. Versions have been developed in Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. These logos have been updated for WSD 2012, and will be used every year to build recall and familiarity with World Sight Day and the activities around the event. These logos will be made available for download, and will also be used in generic posters, bookmarks and other promotional materials for distribution to requesting organisations in August.
What is VISION 2020?
VISION 2020 is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.
The many successes of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight have been achieved through a unique, cross-sector collaboration, which enables public, private and non-profit interests to work together, helping people to see, all over the world.
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) was established in 1975 as a coordinating, umbrella organisation to lead international efforts in blindness prevention activities. Its first major achievement was to promote the establishment of a WHO programme for prevention of blindness, with which it has remained strongly linked, and which is now embodied in the global initiative, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight.

According to WHO estimates:

  • About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide:
  • 39 million are blind and
  • 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment)
  • preventable cause are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
  • 65% of visually impaired, and 82% of blind people are over 50 years of age, although this age group comprises only 20% of the world population
  • Fact 1

In 2010, the number of people visually impaired was estimated to be 285 million, of whom 39 million were blind. This represents a reduction in the number of people previously estimated as being visually impaired in 2004.

  • Fact 2

An estimated 120 million are visually impaired because of uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Almost all of them could have normal vision restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.

  • Fact 3

90% of visually impaired people live in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Fact 4

An estimated 51% of all blindness (19.7 million) is due to age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness, while 43% of all visual impairment is due to uncorrected refractive errors.

  • Fact 5

Cataract surgery and correction of refractive errors are among the most cost-effective health interventions.

  • Fact 6

Age-related causes of visual impairment and blindness are increasing, as is blindness due to uncontrolled diabetes.

  • Fact 7

Globally, up to 80% of visual impairment and blindness in adults is preventable or treatable.

  • Fact 8

Infectious causes of blindness (onchocerciasis and blinding trachoma) are being progressively eliminated from the world with effective and innovative public-private partnerships.

  • Fact 9

Around 1.4 million children are blind. The major causes of blindness in children include cataract, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and Vitamin A deficiency. Approximately half of all childhood blindness can be avoided or treated. A global programme in 30 countries, through a partnership between WHO and Lions Clubs International, is providing eye care services to children.

Fact 10

  • For decades, WHO has been working with its Member States and its international partners to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness, by providing technical assistance, monitoring and coordination.