Leading up to World Sight Day, the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation held a community vision screening in Cincinnati, Ohio that served more than 3,000 local students.

NEW YORK—Numbers are still coming in and media is still catching up with some of the messages shared by optical retailers, eyecare professionals, companies and organizations around the globe during last week’s World Sight Day observation on Oct. 12, 2023. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the 200+ member groups and companies’ efforts generated more than 13 million eye test pledges, well above the group’s target goal of 10 million for the day, which emphasized the Love Your Eyes at Work theme this year. Further, on World Sight Day, a new study, conducted by (IAPB) and Prof. Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins, calculated the costs of avoidable sight loss in people over 50. China, the U.S. and India lead the world league table of countries with the biggest potential gains from better eye health, according to new research. The potential productivity gain in the U.S., where 12 million people over 40 live with visual impairment, is the second largest of any country studied.

The study also reported data that underscored how healthy eyes are crucial to people’s ability to earn a living. Approximately 30 percent of people with sight loss experience a reduction in employment. However, only 28 percent of civilian workers have access to vision care insurance in the U.S.

Sight loss costs the global economy US$411 billion every year, according to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health. As technology transforms the world of work, the future economy will be dominated by service industries and office-based jobs involving the prolonged use of screens. Without proper precautions, this can lead to eye strain and negatively impact eye health, the IAPB/Johns Hopkins report said.

Additional messages about the essential value of eye health and access to vision care were part of the activities on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C, where Prevent Blindness hosted a Congressional Briefing, and free vision screening, with support from the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington, as part of this year’s #LoveYourEyes and #YourEyesAtWork. The event was sponsored by Amgen, Genentech and AbbVie.

Stated Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, “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.” He added, “This World Sight Day, we call upon employers to examine the benefits they offer their employees, insurers to consider expanding their vision and eye health offerings, and federal and state policy makers to prioritize our nation’s eye health and safety in their healthcare policy actions.

The OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation reaffirmed its belief that good vision is a basic human right, through its “The Right To See” campaign. The Foundation executed World Sight Day programs across the globe, including vision exams, screenings, fundraising activities and the establishment of new partnerships, with the ambition of improving vision care access for all. The North America team hosted charitable vision clinics and screenings in cities across the United States, including Philadelphia, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo; Dallas, Texas and Cincinnati, Ohio, also led vision care outreach programs for seniors in need across Canada in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. “We believe that all people should be afforded clear and protected sight, and World Sight Day is an important annual moment when this focus is highlighted on a global stage,” said Becky Palm, executive director, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation North America. “We owe so much gratitude to our generous partners, dedicated volunteers and countless global supporters who help us expand vision care access every day throughout the year. Every minute in 2022, our global Foundation provided 20 people in need with the life-changing benefits of clear sight. On World Sight Day, we’re inspired to celebrate this success, while reinforcing our continued commitment to expanding vision care access to the people who need it most,” she added.

Caren Forsten, CEO, Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington, presents at the World Sight Day Congressional Briefing and Vision Screening, hosted by Prevent Blindness, on Oct. 12, 2023.

Rep. Danny Davis, (D-IL) and Sara Brown, director of government affairs at Prevent Blindness, attend the World Sight Day Congressional Briefing and Vision Screening in Washington, DC, hosted by Prevent Blindness.

Becky Palm, executive director, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation North America and Brittany Alba, director, North America Giving, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, joined patients and volunteers at a vision clinic in Dallas, Texas on World Sight Day.

 VSP Vision did a segment with Emmy-award winning Sherri Shepherd, talking about the importance of eye health and eyecare.
In recognition of World Sight Day, VSP Vision Eyes of Hope partnered with Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show host, comedian, actor, and best-selling author Sherri Shepherd on a segment of SHERRI to help raise awareness about the power of eyecare to help people live healthier, happier lives.

“At VSP Vision, we believe that everyone deserves to see their world clearly, to protect their long-term health, and to experience all that is possible,” said VSP Vision chief communications officer Pat McNeil. “On World Sight Day, we’re proud to collaborate with SHERRI to help elevate the conversation around the importance of eye health, as well as our commitment to increase equitable access to high-quality, affordable eyecare and eyewear for all.”

In addition, VSP Eyes of Hope is committing free vision care valued at $50,000 to Move-In Day Mafia, a charity dedicated to helping underserved and foster care freshman at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with their transition to college, during the segment. VSP Vision also provided SHERRI’S studio audience members with $100 toward eyewear from Eyeconic.com.

The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition, in partnership with VOSH, ran special campaign video in New York's Times Square on World Sight Day.
The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC), a coalition of leading ophthalmic companies and eye health associations, illuminated a Times Square New York billboard to draw attention to the growing issue of myopia and the importance of getting children an annual eye exam.

The billboard is a partnership between GMAC and the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International (VOSH) featured an awareness message to consumers that by 2050, 1 in 2 people will have myopia. It ended with a call to action to give your child a clear future and schedule an eye exam today.