World Sight Day 2013: A Call to Action Answered By the Optical Community Worldwide

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  Students at the University of New South Wales in Australia created a human World Sight Day logo as a demonstration of their “People Power.”
NEW YORK— As the fight against vision loss and visual impairment continues worldwide, the World Sight Day initiative made its mark this year on Oct. 10, 2013 to turn the world’s attention to its mission: preventing avoidable blindness.

World Sight Day 2013 began its countdown on Sept. 1 with the kickoff of the World Sight Day Challenge organized by Optometry Giving Sight (OGS), one of World Sight Day’s principal organizers. Originally coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative, World Sight Day again garnered the support of optical companies, eye health organizations and eyecare practices worldwide, with celebrations occurring in over 300 events in 60 countries around the world. According to IAPB, World Sight Day collaborators now include over 120 organizations, with every major eye health organization and global eye health professional association contributing to the cause.


 
A patient of VSP Global’s mobile clinic, Jeanene, happily upgraded from “dollar store readers” to her first bifocal prescription.  
“There were many creative activities, some that will continue throughout the Challenge and the end of October and even to the end of the year,” said an OGS spokesperson. According to OGS, more than 800 eyecare practices across North America participated in World Sight Day, with support coming in from domestic and international networks such as Vision Source, Eyecare Plus, Provision, FYi Doctors, OSI, FOPN and Federottica.

A major component of the Challenge was the World Sight Day Coalition, consisting of 13 companies who showed continued support for the campaign by raising awareness of the importance of eye health and the expansion of access to eyecare. On this year’s World Sight Day, the Coalition and partnering local optometrists provided free eyecare to 4,000 Atlanta residents in need onboard the VSP Mobile Eyes clinics, and a check for $570,000 was presented to OGS in support of their efforts.

 
  IAPB’s World Sight Day 2013 fundraising materials drove home this year’s specific message: Get Your Eyes Tested.
The Coalition includes ABB Optical Group, Alcon, AllAboutVision, CooperVision, Essilor, Eyefinity, Marchon Eyewear, TLC Laser Centers, Transitions Optical, Vistakon of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., Vision Source, VSP Optics Group and VSP Vision Care.

Other companies involved include A&A Optical, Alden Labs, Art Optical, Bard Optical, Carl Zeiss Vision, ClearVision Optical, Contamac, DAC Vision, Demandforce, Europa International, Gas Permeable Lens Institute, Hoya, ICU Eyewear, IVI Vision, Morel Eyewear, Optos, Primary Care Optometry News, Reed Exhibitions, REM, RevolutionEHR, RX Optical, Sauflon, Scotiabank, Signet Armorlite, Tom’s Eyewear, Viva International, WestGroupe, Williams Group and Zyloware Eyewear.


 
A check for $570,000 was presented to OGS in support of their efforts at the VSP Mobile Eyes Clinic in Atlanta, Ga.  
“The passion and commitment in support of the shared mission of eliminating avoidable blindness and impaired vision this World Sight Day exceeds any show of participation in the past seven years the Challenge has been organized,” said Clive Miller, global CEO, OGS.

Further highlights of this year’s World Sight Day efforts included the Company Challenge, in which 50 companies participated in fundraising efforts, with CooperVision reaching $40,000 at press time; the Student Challenge, which involved nearly all optometry schools in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Europe and Australia; and Alcon’s “Kids Celebration of Sight Program,” which paired screening activities among primary school children in Texas and India and held local events in Australia and the U.K. ■

cwolinski@jobson.com