Another World Sight Day has come and gone, which means more people than ever before are seeing the world in a whole new light. Every year, our industry comes together to pull off an impressive feat—by returning sight to people all around the world, our community is changing lives forever. When you stop to think about it, it’s really mind-blowing.
The impact of a pair of glasses is sometimes lost on those of us with easy access to them. I remember getting my first pair in third grade (a thin, purple metal in a small oval shape) and being so embarrassed that I refused to wear them to the bus stop. I carried the purple frames in my backpack instead, only putting them on when I absolutely couldn’t get away without. Sixteen years later (and with a slightly improved taste in what styles of eyewear suit me), I look for any excuse to wear my glasses in place of my contacts.
Earlier this month, I was surprised to learn of the World Health Organization’s first-ever World Report on Vision. I know that people all around the world live with uncorrected vision impairment, but 2.2 billion? Even more upsetting is the WHO’s statistic that at least 1 billion of those cases could have been prevented or are yet to be addressed. It makes me wish I could tell my third grade self to be more thankful.
Our industry is doing a lot to help—like WestGroupe’s #WithoutMySight Challenge, EssilorLuxottica’s call for a global coalition to wipe out uncorrected poor vision, J&J Vision’s #ConnectedBySight campaign, Alcon’s World Sight Day Challenge, the thousands giving to Optometry Giving Sight and so much more. ECPs ran fundraisers too—we all know, every penny goes a long way. World Sight Day is a day for us to reach out to those in need, as well as a day to reflect and be grateful. This year I feel lucky to have been a witness to it.