NSUOCO raises awareness for World Sight Day

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired.

Each year Northeastern State University's Oklahoma College of Optometry helps raise awareness for WSD. For 2010, the college has created a WSD Facebook page, put out press releases and ordered WSD shirts.

“NSUOCO supports this cause every year by increasing awareness of the right to sight by educating patients throughout our clinics of the importance of quality healthcare throughout the world,” said Erin Ridder of the WSD advertising committee. “This year NSUOCO clinicians and doctors will be wearing WSD t-shirts to strike more interest and conversation among patients and the health care and college community.”

The goal of WSD is to raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues and to raise funds and donations.

“Eighty percent of blindness worldwide is avoidable, readily treatable or preventable,” said Jennifer O’Neil, American Optometric Student Association philanthropy chairperson. “Without effective, major intervention, the number of blind people worldwide has been projected to increase to 76 million by 2020.”

WSD is held the second Thursday of each October, falling this year on the 14th. The Optometry Giving Sight website encourages optometrists, opticians, staff and students to show support for WSD by serving those in underserved communities with affordable vision care delivered by trained eye care professionals.

“WSD is observed around the world by all partners involved in preventing visual impairment or restoring sight,” said O'Neil. “It is also the main advocacy event for the prevention of blindness and for Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, a global effort to prevent blindness.”

Vision 2020 was created by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. The Vision 2020 website states there are 314 million people who are visually impaired worldwide; 45 million are blind and over 200 million have moderate or severe impairment. Target areas of concern for Vision 2020 are cataracts, refractive errors, trachoma, childhood blindness, low vision, river blindness, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

“In the long run, the initiative seeks to ensure the best possible vision for all people, thereby improving their quality of life,” said Ridder. “This goal should be achieved through the establishment of a sustainable, comprehensive eye-care system as an integral part of every national health system.”

Ridder said WSD is one of the programs initiated through Vision 2020 to help meet the goal to eliminate avoidable blindness by that year.

For more information, visit Vision2020.org and WSD GivingSight.org. For more about NSUOCO visit http://optometry.nsuok.edu

Published: 10/11/2010 9:39:38 AM

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