NEW YORK—We are just two days away from World Sight Day 2020, which falls on Thursday, October 8 this year. Although this year is markedly different from World Sight Days past, the optical industry is gearing up for a day just as meaningful and important as always. This year, organizations and companies around the world are coming together virtually for educational seminars, fundraisers and other advocacy. This year’s theme is Hope In Sight, and focuses on the recent World Health Assembly resolution for eye health. The IAPB said, “With political commitment to take action to make eyecare an integral part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and to implement ‘integrated people-centred eyecare’ there is #HopeInSight.”

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, which heads up World Sight Day, has put together a detailed WSD toolkit, which includes documents and infographics to help ECPs and organizations best take WSD to their audiences. The toolkit includes the history and importance of WSD, WSD2020’s key messages, WSD2020’s media guidelines, WSD2020’s suggested activities, and more. The implementation pack is available online. Optometry Giving Sight is holding its annual World Sight Day fundraising challenge, which brings the global optometric community together to help raise money and awareness to provide eyecare to those in need. ECPs, companies, students and individuals can visit the Optometry Giving Sight website for tailored resources to show what they can do to take part in the challenge. In addition, Optometry Giving Sight has released a video underscoring the importance of World Sight Day and explaining how to support the cause.

OneSight is teaming up with its partners Fresh Air Fund and Bronx Documentary Center and sponsors Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, LCA Vision, Anthem National Accounts, Wachter and Chubb to host a three-day vision clinic in New York City, beginning on World Sight Day. The three-day charitable clinic will provide eye exams and glasses to hundreds of underserved, uninsured kids and adults to see better.

The OneSight team will be joined by multiple optometrists and opticians to staff the daily operations of the clinic, and the clinic will utilize OneSight’s newly developed COVID-19 operational protocols. Dawn Yager, OneSight program manager, said, "We’re proud to partner with Fresh Air Fund and Bronx Documentary Center to support the South Bronx community, who has experienced a significant economic impact from the pandemic."

In addition, OneSight is hosting another vision clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa to serve over 100 local orphans and senior citizens, as well as community vision screening events in Cincinnati, Ohio helping hundreds of local students. OneSight will also release a free downloadable kids' book called "Through the Looking Glasses," which features stories about seeing clearly for kids. At 7:00 p.m. local time inside the U.S. and 6:00 p.m. local time internationally, OneSight will debut videos on its website featuring Billie Jean King, David Chang, Jo Frost, Michelle Yeoh and more reading stories from the book.

Calgary, Canada-based organization Operation Eyesight is planning a social media campaign on World Sight Day to take its followers to visit its offices, partner hospitals, board locations and corporate partners. It will start in India and travel to Nepal, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, the U.K. and North America. President and CEO Aly Bandali said, “This event will give people a unique opportunity to see over the course of one day how Operation Eyesight is preventing blindness and restoring sight for entire communities in need.”

Today, October 6, eSight and the American Foundation for the Blind will host a World Sight Day Webinar. The 45 minute Zoom webinar will include AFB’s director of research Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum and kick off at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

In Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson Vision is running a special six hour virtual symposium in honor of World Sight Day. The symposium will be held over three days: October 7, 14, and 21, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sydney time each day. Topics will include a panel discussion between professional associations from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, on how they have contributed to the advancement of eye heath, a discussion on the role of primary care in community, and the visual challenges people now face while working from home.

VM will continue to update as more organizations and companies announce their WSD20 plans.