Al Noor Eye Hospital

World Sight Day observed globally on Oct 14

Thursday, October 14th, marks World Sight Day, which is an annual day for raising awareness on blindness and vision impairment.

World Sight Day is observed on the second Thursday of the month of October each year.

Like all other parts of the world, the day is also being observed in Bangladesh with necessary arrangements and activities.

Marking the celebration of the Day, National Eye Care of the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and International Non-government Organisations (INGOs) Forum for Eye Health have jointly undertaken different initiatives to raise awareness on blindness and vision impairment across the country.

The theme of this year’s World Sight Day is ‘love your eyes’.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 2.2 billion people, comprising a quarter of the world’s population, have a visual impairment.

Among them, most are people from low- and middle-income countries. Nearly everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime and more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services.

Over half of this vision loss is preventable or treatable, but a lack of quality eye care services means that many people don’t get the care they need. And countries are losing out as a result, as it is estimated that the productivity loss of visual impairment and blindness is $410.7 billion globally each year.

On July 23, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the ‘Vision for Everyone; accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals‘ resolution committing the international community to eye health for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.  The resolution was unanimously adopted by all 193 countries of the United Nations.

The adoption of this resolution, and the committee through which it was adopted, makes it clear that eye health is a priority development and human rights issue in the present world.

National Eye Care is arranging rallies, discussion meetings, advocacy and awareness programmes through electronic, print and social media.

130 Community Vision Centres at upazila health complexes, 64 district hospitals & base Hospitals (Medical College Hospital) are also celebrating this day with different activities under the guidance of  National Eye Care.

National and international NGO’s working in the eye care sector of Bangladesh are also organising different programmes themselves and also through their partner hospitals in coordination with National Eye Care to mark this day.

Emphasising the significance of the Day, Health Minister Zahid Maleque MP says: “World Sight Day is an important day for Bangladesh as this day reminds us of the importance of sight and eye health.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has adopted various initiatives including raising awareness about receiving eye health care treatments from the eye health facilities, said the health minister.

First UN resolution on vision impairment, introduced by Bangladesh, adopted unanimously

The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the first-ever UN resolution on vision impairment, committing access to eye healthcare for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.

Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York, Ambassador Rabab Fatima introduced the resolution on behalf of the Friends of Vision, an informal like-minded group at the UN that advocates for greater access to eye healthcare for over two billion people currently living with various levels of visual impairment.

The resolution titled ‘Vision for Everyone: Accelerating Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ is unique as it is the first agreement among the member states of this highest global body that is designed to tackle preventable sight loss, the Bangladesh Mission at the UN said today.

The other two co-chairs of the group are Antigua and Barbuda and Ireland, who joined Bangladesh in proposing the resolution. A total of 115 member states co-sponsored the resolution adopted yesterday.

Ambassador Fatima dedicated the resolution to all people around the world who are visually impaired or handicapped.

“1.1 billion people live with preventable sight loss. Preventable sight loss is a global challenge that needs a global solution – and that is what we have agreed today. What we agreed today will make a world of a difference to the lives of billions and their families and communities”, Ambassador Fatima said.

Ambassador Fatima also said millions of people globally lose their visions, needlessly. “And this phenomenon largely impedes their ability to contribute to their full potentials to the socio-economic development of their societies. The resolution before us has the potential to reverse this situation”.

The resolution called upon the member states to make eye health integral to their nation’s commitment to achieving the sustainable development goals.

The resolution also asked for international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted finances, especially to support developing countries in tackling preventable sight loss.

It called on relevant UN institutions to support global efforts to achieve vision for everyone to achieve the sustainable development goals. The resolution also called for new targets on eye care to be included in the UN’s sustainable development goals at its next review.

About 90 percent of the people who do not have access to proper eye healthcare live in low- and middle-income countries.