NEW YORK—Vision care professionals, suppliers from all sectors, optical retailers, volunteers, NGOs and sight-saving groups, are actively taking part and contributing their time, voices and dollars today, World Sight Day, to spread help and assistance to those without access to eyecare and eyewear and to raise awareness and dollars to support the cause of bringing the value of eyewear to those in need in the U.S. and around the world. OptometryGivingSight with groups of corporate and individual supporters in the U.S. and Canada, is actively involved in a range of programs administering care.
The IAPB, International Association to Prevent Blindness and a wide coalition of sight-focused groups will be presenting a briefing about the activities of this year's World Sight Day in Washington D.C. next week.
Besides hundreds if not thousands of contributions and efforts, World Sight Day 2019 is taking place against the backdrop of many important new reports which look to quantify the vision care crisis and advance practical ways to sustainably tackle the challenge. Among these are this week's World Health Organization (WHO) report on vision and, last month, as VMAIL reported EssilorLuxottica's new report , “Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation,” which called for a global coalition of industry, governments, non-government organizations and other partners to spend $14 billion over the next 30 years to wipe out uncorrected poor vision, also known as uncorrected refractive error.
Hong Kong philanthropist James Chen, founder of Clearly, last year got 52 countries at The Commonwealth Heads of Governments to pledge affordable eyecare for all, and created the first UN working group on poor vision.
The OneSight Foundation and Pearle will be advancing a new program, ABSee, to their ongoing efforts this year.
Johnson & Johnson Vision has launched a worldwide campaign to share the untold stories of eyecare professionals, patients, and organizations who are inspiring the elevation of eye health as a global priority and demonstrating how the world is #ConnectedBySight.
For World Sight Day, Johnson & Johnson will make a donation to two sight-saving initiatives via Donate a Photo. Donations will provide 100,000 children with eye health treatment access and 1,000 vision-restoring cataract surgeries. Donate a Photo proceeds provide support in the following ways:
• Lions Clubs International Foundation’s Sight for Kids will provide 100,000 children with eye health education and access to vision screenings. Sight for Kids has provided more than 30 million children with eye health education and services around the world since 2002.
• The Himalayan Cataract Project will provide 1,000 people with life-changing cataract surgery. As a result of the Himalayan Cataract Project’s efforts, over 11 million people have been screened and treated, including surgery for over 900,000 people from 17 countries.
"At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we have a bold ambition to improve the trajectory of eye health," said Shlomi Nachman, company group chairman, Cardiovascular Specialty Solutions and Johnson & Johnson Vision. "That's something we can't accomplish alone. We have to support organizations driving positive change and connect eyecare professionals and the public with education and ways to support making sight accessible to all."
Thousands of Alcon associates worldwide will participate in activities in support of the advancement of eye health in honor of World Sight Day. The initiative marks the start of Alcon’s ongoing campaign to help people See Brilliantly as the “Official Sponsor of 20/20." Among its extensive activities, Fort Worth, Texas-based Alcon Foundation will sponsor free eye health and vision screenings at the State Fair of Texas on October 10. The exams will be conducted by staff of Dallas’ Cedar Springs Eye Clinic and Fort Worth’s Community Eye Clinic, which provide low-cost or free exams, treatment and glasses to uninsured/underinsured patients in North Texas.
Alcon associates in Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Romania, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. will participate in the Cycle for Sight 20/20 Challenge, an annual company initiative that challenges 2,020 participants to ride stationary or traditional bikes to raise funds for vision and eye health charities.
In Taiwan, Alcon is partnering with the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan to promote “Eye Protection 1-2-3,” an initiative to raise awareness of dry eye syndrome caused by excessive screen time. In Portugal, Alcon is joining efforts with the Portuguese Society of Ophthalmology to raise awareness of eye health through a variety of initiatives, including free visual screenings for the public. In Spain, the company is launching the Visionary Program—an initiative that aims to enhance the research work of women in the scientific field by making their achievements more visible.
Throughout Alcon’s 40-year partnership with Orbis International, a global non-profit that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness, Alcon biomedical engineers have volunteered their time, skills and expertise to provide equipment training and perform maintenance on the eyecare machinery aboard the Flying Eye Hospital, a state-of-the-art teaching facility complete with operating room, classroom and recovery room.
Orbis itself reports it is commemorating World Sight Day by celebrating achievements of the eye health community over the past two decades, and warning of a projected global tripling of blindness over the next 30 years. "As 2020 approaches, we have much progress to celebrate, but if we are to prevent the looming crisis, we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Bob Ranck, president and CEO of Orbis International. “We have to take what we’ve learned over the past two decades and use it to make our future efforts laser-focused on what we know will preserve vision for the greatest number of people.”
This year, De Rigo REM is pledging to take the World Sight Day Challenge by joining forces with Optometry Giving Sight for a second year to help raise funds and awareness to help over one million people receive proper access to eyecare. "To support, we ask our employees, partners and friends to join us once again by posting a World Sight Day photo of themselves on social media with a pair of eyeglasses framing their most-valued daily vision to symbolize the power and impact of seeing clearly," the company said.
Tripling the efforts this year, for every post made during the month of October using the unique hashtag #SEEINGCLEAR, De Rigo REM will donate $5 dollars—the gift of sight for a child. An additional donation of $5 dollars will also be made for every person tagged in the comments up to 5 people, providing access to eyecare services for a whole family.
As VMail has reported, WestGroupe is another company amping up its social media involvement with the company's #WithoutMySight initiative featuring the stories of other Champions and communicators.