Optical Industry Joins Fundraising Forces to Celebrate World Sight Day


GOLDEN, Colo.—The World Sight Day Challenge is shaping up to be a great success, with thousands of eyecare professionals, companies, students, staff and patients, in the U.S. and around the world, all contributing to raise funds to help eliminate avoidable blindness and impaired vision, according to an announcement from Optometry Giving Sight

The fundraising efforts will continue through October 31, with the charity estimating that they are currently at 78 percent of their U.S. target if all pledges are received. Optometry Giving Sight is urging anyone who has yet to make a donation to do so at www.givingsight.org/donate.

In addition to efforts by the Coalition, as reported by VMail, ECPs, optical retailers and dozens of other optical industry companies and organizations held special events on Oct. 9 to raise general awareness and dollars around the cause of undetected refractive error and the needs of so many patients. Social media amplified many of the activities this year. Following are some of the highlights surrounding the WSD Challenge:

OneSight's Jason Singh, OD.

Vision Source Member Support Center, Kingwood. Vision Source said, “Many of our practices participated by making personal donations, and /or selling the $5 wristbands and collecting donations from the patients, dollar by dollar, or through events, big and small. This year at the Vision Source Member Support Center, we have taken a more active role in our internal fundraising efforts. The mission has been to lead the system by example and to use all of our available resources to bring more awareness to Optometry Giving Sight and also provide a sizeable donation. We are proud to announce that our total donation, just from the employees at the Vision Source Member Support Center is $70,000.”

U.S. Practice Highlights: The doctors and staff at Linden Optometry A P.C. are hard at work throughout the month of October participating in the World Sight Day Challenge. Last year, they raised over $3,600 and look forward to another successful Challenge this year.

Dr. Denise Roddy and the staff at Advanced Eyecare, Tulsa, Okla. are no strangers to the World Sight Day Challenge and have been participating since its inception. This year, the staff exceeded their goal to raise $1,000 from patients and Dr. Roddy has generously agreed to match the donations.

Dr. Sandy Block, chair of the Prevent Blindness Public Health Committee.

Drs. John Hawley and Cache Crawford of Premier Eyecare in Bakersfield, Calif. have been generous supporters of the Challenge and have been donating their eye exam fees for World Sight Day for the past few years. This year their donation will help over 500 people receive the gift of sight.

Dr. Celia de Lourdes Feliciano - Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico said her practice is decorated with WSDC materials, including her own gold ribbons, which symbolize her sight philosophy that "Sight is worth more than all the gold in the world." Dr. Feliciano not only made her own gift, but is inviting the support of patients.

VSP Global hosted a week-long community event offering comprehensive eye exams and new glasses to nearly 2,200 people in need, including veterans, at its Sacramento headquarters. ZeaVision also participated to raise awareness about the risks of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. On World Sight Day, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor, VSP’s Vision to Share campaign partner America’s VetDogs, and Optometry Giving Sight spoke with employees, more than 40 volunteer doctors, and the community in support of the World Sight Day Challenge.

To help VSP give back, people just have to visit SeeMuchMore.com and share the Vision to Share video. Every time a person shares the video through Facebook, Twitter or email, VSP will make a donation toward the care and training of a guide dog.

The Essilor Group organized events in some 50 countries around the world to raise public awareness and help improve lives by improving sight. This call for action has also been shared on social networks through the #bettersightbetterlife campaign which has touched close to 300,000 people worldwide. Together with Kids Vision for Life, with Essilor of America, Essilor International, EVF International and Special Olympics joined forces to raise the flag for better vision on World Sight Day through Special Olympics events, vision days, social media campaigns and employee engagement. And in Dallas, EVF, Kids Vision for Life and Special Olympics provided vision screenings and eye exams to 50 Special Olympic athletes from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

As part of CooperVision’s Fight For Sight campaign, where staff around the world are raising funds in support of the World Sight Day Challenge, CooperVision’s 1,700 employees in Puerto Rico exceeded their target raising $12,743.

CooperVision USA also announced an October campaign to boost rebate-related giving to Optometry Giving Sight. U.S. contact lens wearers who purchase CooperVision lenses with rebate offers have the opportunity to donate a portion or all of their rebates to Optometry Giving Sight. But through Oct. 31, CooperVision will match all rebate donations to double these charitable contributions.

OneSight executive director Jason Singh shared OneSight’s story with fashion and industry media at an event in honor of World Sight Day. The OneSight street team raisied awareness for The Way We See It campaign in New York’s Flatiron district on World Sight Day.

Prevent Blindness commemorated World Sight Day by co-sponsoring the Vision 2020 USA briefing in Washington, DC, examining diabetic eye disease. Dr. Sandy Block, chair of the Prevent Blindness Public Health Committee, is the president of Vision 2020 USA and Prevent Blindness is a long-term member of the initiative. Dr. Block moderated the briefing, which featured Dr. Susan Bressler of Johns Hopkins University and Ann Williams, PhD, RN, of Case Western Reserve University discussing diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, as well as their causes, treatment, related policy and the experiences of patients.

AllAboutVision.com’s #ShareForSight social media campaign generated 1,150 social media shares in the week leading up to World Sight Day, resulting in a donation of $8,050 for Optometry Giving Sight. The #ShareForSight posts focused on spreading eye health awareness and covered topics like nutrition for healthy eyes, children’s vision problems, myopia control and more.

Zeiss raised funds for the World Sight Day Challenge through sales of World Sight Day T-shirts to employees. An overwhelming grassroots response allowed Zeiss Vision Care to exceed its fundraising target by 25 percent.

TLC announced the winners of their Operation TLC campaign which will see 10 of their doctors and 10 support staff invited to join an outreach visit to the Dominican Republic in January in association with the Pujols Family Foundation.

Students: Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry will be holding their first 5k & Fun Run event on Saturday, Oct. 25 in support of the World Sight Day Student Challenge.

InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico had an ice cream social and volleyball tournament in support of their Student Challenge efforts.

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University will be holding their 2nd annual Movember Final Growdown event, where students will be competing for the title of Fuzzy Wuzzy King (or Queen).

Nova Southeastern University will be hosting their 2nd annual "Cycling for Sight" event in November. Last year they raised over $12,000 for the World Sight Day Challenge.

Canada: Many creative fundraising events are taking place in FYidoctors, OSI, Eye Recommend, Vision Source and independent optometry offices throughout October. Here are just a few of them.

Staff members of Waterfront Eyecare in Penticton BC held a flashmob at their local farmer's market to raise awareness and invite donations.

Killarney Vision Services in Killarney, Manitoba is holding their second annual 'Dining in the Dark' event for residents of their town, with staff members volunteering as servers for the meal to blindfolded participants.

Victoria Vision Eyecare in Victoria, British Columbia is holding a variation of an icebucket challenge where patients can make a donation to Optometry Giving Sight for a chance to vote for which doctor at the office will get an ice bucket dumped on their head.

Family Eyecare Centre in New Westminster, British Columbia held a ‘mobile” bake sale, taking a wagon full of baked goodies to the businesses in the mall they reside in, as well as holding other fundraising events. The doctors at the office have pledged to match all the funds raised by staff in October.

The University of Waterloo and the University of Montreal optometry students each held a successful 'Dining in the Dark' fundraising events with silent auctions to raise funds to give sight to those in need. The 'blind' dining experience helped to raise awareness of the cause to students, faculty and the community while at the same time raising funds.

Mexico: The eyecare profession and industry in Mexico joined the World Sight Day this year for the first time.

Ópticas Devlyn has launched the Challenge in 450 of their stores throughout October and November. They are inviting their customers to make a small donation and receive one of Optometry Giving Sight’s “people power” wristbands.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Marchon, Carl Zeiss, Essilor, CooperVision and Novartis are all raising funds through sales of the wristbands among their employees, families, suppliers and clients. Their campaigns will last throughout October.

The students from the Optometry School UNAM will participate in the campaign selling wristbands during October in their campus.