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World Sight Day Raises Global Awareness of Visual Impairment

Lack of adequate access to eyecare remains a worldwide challenge that comes with emotional pain and economic loss.




World Sight Day Raises Global Awareness of Visual Impairment
World Sight Day 2015 pro photo of the year. Image by Azahara Sánchez courtesy of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). 

Today is World Sight Day.

The occasion has been observed worldwide every second Thursday of October for more than 20 years. Its purpose is to raise global awareness of visual impairment.

In some ways, it is amazing that, in this day and age, we need reminders of how important eye health is. And yet, the numbers remain astounding:

  • The United Nations (UN) estimated the world eclipsed the 8 billion population mark on November 15, 2022.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in July 2021 that more than 2 billion individuals live with visual impairments or blindness. The number is only expected to grow as the Earth’s population increases.
  • The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) says more than 1.1 billion people deal with vision loss due to limited or no access to eye health services.

Somehow, 1 in 4 humans on this planet live with eye issues. That number could be sliced in half with one improvement from rural America to remote rainforests and arid savannas: adequate access to eyecare.

Economic Impact

IAPB teamed with Prof. Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins to conduct a study on the economic impact of avoidable sight loss. Results were released today to coincide with World Sight Day 2023.

According to their research, the U.S. economy would gain $50.4 billion a year with better eye health alone. And this is just calculating the impact of avoidable sight loss in individuals 50 and older.


Of the countries included in the study, the U.S. ranked second only to China for economic losses related to avoidable sight loss.

Top 20 countries with biggest Gross Domestic Income (GDI) losses from avoidable sight loss (In U.S. billions)

China $96.226
United States $50.440
India $27.401
Japan $20.561
Germany $17.534
Italy $13.297
United Kingdom $12.508
Russia $10.744
France $10.397
Spain $9.678
*Source: International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

From an IAPB press release, “approximately 30% of people with sight loss experience a reduction in employment. However, only 28% of civilian workers have access to vision care insurance in the US.”

As such, the Love Your Eyes campaign and Prevent Blindness are encouraging US employers to include vision care and eye health in their insurance plans.


“Business leaders have played a vital role in raising awareness of workplace wellbeing, from mental health to menopause. Today, World Sight Day is an opportunity for employers to add eye health to their wellbeing agenda and encourage workers to love their eyes.”

Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB and Love Your Eyes campaign spokesperson


“Unfortunately, access to quality eyecare is out of reach for many in the United States – even those may be fully employed – simply because they do not have health insurance, or their current plans do not cover vision services.”

Jeff Todd, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness


About IAPB

World Sight Day Raises Global Awareness of Visual ImpairmentThe International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is a global alliance of organisations that work toward the elimination of avoidable blindness and vision impairment.

IAPB’s primary purpose is to promote comprehensive eye health care and advocate for the right to sight, ensuring that everyone has access to quality eye care services, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographical location.

To ensure a long-lasting impact of this World Sight Day, the IAPB have produced  a range  of workplace toolkits consisting of eye health checklists, a draft of internal newsletters, and simple exercises that employers could circulate internally amongst its workforce.


About Prevent Blindness

World Sight Day Raises Global Awareness of Visual ImpairmentPrevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.

Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research.

These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, visit us at



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