October 12 -World Sight day,Statistics suggest that India has the largest population of blind people in the world

“What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self”
Helen Keller
World Sight Day is a global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.World Sight Day raises awareness about blindness and vision impairment, as well as the provision of eye health care
The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are actively involved in coordinating events and activities for World Sight Day. Associations such as Lions Clubs International have also been actively involved in promoting the day on an annual basis for many years.Many communities, associations, and non-government organizations work together with WHO and IAPB to promote the day for the following purposes:

  • To raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
  • To influence governments, particularly health ministers, to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.
  • To educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and its activities, and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities.

Public Life

The world’s population is ageing and people are living longer but blindness from chronic conditions is also rising, according to WHO. About 80 percent of the world’s 45 million blind people are aged over 50 years. About 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries, where older people, especially older women, face barriers to getting the necessary eye health care. Yet, many age-related conditions leading to blindness – such as cataract, refractive error and glaucoma – can be easily and cheaply treated or cured. Timely intervention can often delay or reduce their effects on vision.

Lions Clubs International partnered with blindness prevention organizations worldwide to commemorate the first World Sight Day on October 8, 1998. This event was later integrated into VISION 2020, a global initiative that the IAPB coordinates. This initiative is a joint program between WHO and the IAPB. It involves non-government organizations, and professional associations, as well as eye care institutions and corporations.
National Programme for Control of Blindness

National Programme for Control of Blindness was launched in the year 1976 as a 100% Centrally Sponsored scheme with the goal to reduce the prevalence of blindness from 1.4% to 0.3%. As per Survey in 2001-02, prevalence of blindness is estimated to be 1.1%. Rapid Survey on Avoidable Blindness conducted under NPCB during 2006-07 showed reduction in the prevalence of blindness from 1.1% (2001-02) to 1% (2006-07). Various activities/initiatives undertaken during the Five Year Plans under NPCB are targeted towards achieving the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by the year 2020.

Main causes of blindness are as follows: – Cataract (62.6%) Refractive Error (19.70%) Corneal Blindness (0.90%), Glaucoma (5.80%), Surgical Complication (1.20%) Posterior Capsular Opacification (0.90%) Posterior Segment Disorder (4.70%), Others (4.19%) Estimated National Prevalence of Childhood Blindness /Low Vision is 0.80 per thousand

India Has Over 7 Million Visually Impaired People,Statistics suggest that India has the largest population of blind people in the world.
The more unfortunate part about this is that most of the blind population live in the poorer parts of the country which consequently denies them access to proper living conditions and basic health care.
However, not being able to see should not be an impediment to anyone’s education. Basic literacy is every human being’s fundamental right. For a blind person however, education is a mountain that they need to surmount.
Braille, in spite of being a powerful tool of education for the blind, is still not easily accessible to every blind person in the country. The need to empower the visually impaired and promote Braille across the country is vital.
That’s what 25-year-old Upasana Makati wishes to do with her life. She has set up India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille. ‘White Print’ brings mainstream issues and subjects to the visually impaired. Priced at Rs. 30, it’s a magazine that even blind people in small towns can afford.
This amazing venture by this young woman will go a long way in helping blind people read and helping the rest of the country open their eyes.