On October 14, we celebrated World Sight Day, an international day for advocacy and awareness of eye health. I’m tremendously proud of my friends and colleagues around the world who dedicate their time to ensure EVERYONE COUNTS and that eye health maintains a top priority.
In the month leading up to World Sight Day, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) hosted the EVERYONE COUNTS global challenge, where everyone was encouraged to pledge to have a sight test or care for their eyes. The goal? One million pledges. My team at Operation Eyesight and I were determined to contribute to this goal, and to champion this year’s theme of #LoveYourEyes.
During the week of World Sight Day, our global team screened 4,491 individuals, performed or booked 270 cataract surgeries, provided 297 pairs of prescription eyeglasses, and trained 28 community health nurses in primary eye care. Our digital awareness campaign reached over 46,000 people, encouraging them to take the #LoveYourEyes pledge and to learn more about why EVERYONE COUNTS.
And thanks to global efforts, IAPB beat their goal by 370 percent, receiving over 3.5 million pledges!
Below are more of our World Sight Day highlights from around the globe.
Our team in Kenya launched the Iten out-patient department, hosted screening camps in Kitale and held an outreach camp for children at a rural school.
In Zambia, the Matero Vision Centre was formally launched on World Sight Day. Our team also conducted two community eye health awareness events and two outreach screening events.
In Ghana, a training session in primary eye care was facilitated for a group of 28 community health nurses, and an outreach camp providing screening and surgery was hosted.
Our team in India inagurated nine vision centers, screened 2,431 people through various outreach activities, launched two vision centres, and distributed 75 pairs of perscription eyeglasses at a school screening camp.
The Alex in Calgary, Canada, hosted a free eye screening event in partnership with Operation Eyesight and the Essilor Vision Foundation Canada.
The event brought in the Calgary-based EvolutionEyes, a mobile vision centre that provided pre-booked eye exams for clients of The Alex. Those who require eyeglasses will receive a pair as provided by their health benefits or by the Essilor Vision Foundation Canada.
Through Operation Eyesight’s community eye health model, we’re able to empower people to take control of their health and encourage health-seeking behavior. This model has been successful in South Asia and Africa due to effective local partnerships. Effective partnerships can help us meet the eye health care needs of underserved populations here in Canada as well. This event is the first step towards making that happen.
Our global celebrations of World Sight Day highlight the incredible work being done by Operation Eyesight and our partners around the world, with support from our generous donors. We know that eye health is essential to thriving communities, and that 90 percent of eye health problems are avoidable or treatable. Prioritizing eye health and reducing the barrier of accessibility can lead to profound results. Thank you – to my colleagues and to our donors and partners – for your ongoing support as we work to prevent blindness and restore sight for all those in need. Because EVERYONE COUNTS.