Optometrists from Australia and New Zealand gathered online in October to attend World Sight Day 2021: #LoveYourEyes, a virtual event presented by Johnson & Johnson Vision to educate and raise awareness of vision impairment and blindness, along with issues relating to access to eye care services.
World Sight Day, which this year fell on 14 October, is an International Day of Awareness focused on eye health and encouraging people around the world to be proactive in seeking care.
This year’s campaign was appropriately themed Love Your Eyes – approximately 90% of Australians fear losing their sight above any other sense,1 yet many are unaware of the preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risks associated with vision impairment and blindness.
With more than a billion people worldwide living with visual impairment or blindness (including uncorrected presbyopia),2 the event demonstrated the importance of taking care of our own eye health and the eye health others. The presentations highlighted some of the extraordinary community aid work that has been undertaken in this area, and the work still to be done to ensure access to eye care services for everyone, everywhere around the world.
Victorian optometrist, Peter Stewart OAM (High on Vision, Kew), described some of the international community aid work being undertaken to address such issues. Following his involvement in the East Timor Eye Program, Mr Stewart co-founded the Sumba Eye Program, to continue to provide the people of this region access to eye care services and visual aids.
“It was a pleasure to be involved with Johnson and Johnson’s World Sight Day webinar and to be given the opportunity to share my experiences with International Eye Aid,” he commented after the event.
Through a presentation on = local eye care programs and accessibility issues,fellow Victorian optometrist, Emmy Cui (Eye and I, Footscray,) reminded participants that these issues are not confined to low socio-economic regions of the world. Additionally, Ms Cui reflected on how partnering with Johnson & Johnson Vision, to raise community awareness on the importance of eye health, has enabled her to contribute to causes she is passionate about.
“It was a great honour to be involved with Johnson & Johnson’s World Sight Day campaign. The partnership with JNJ has given me a much broader platform as an optometrist to continue to raise awareness about the importance of eye health and the accessibility to eye care services,” she said.
Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Professional Development Manager, Hirdesh Nair, outlined key data on vision impairment and blindness, highlighting how this relates to global and local sight needs. Mr Nair described how Johnson & Johnson Vision supports its charity partner, Sight For Kids, by increasing awareness and providing eye health services to children in need within the most underserved regions of Asia and Africa. To this end, Johnson & Johnson Vision pledged to donate a percentage of every pack of Acuvue contact lenses sold throughout the month of October to Sight For Kids, so that underprivileged children can be provided with the eye care services and visual aids that they desperately need.
Across Johnson & Johnson Vision, teams continue to work to raise awareness, encourage action and to thank eye care professionals who step up daily to put on their ‘capes’ and be our eye health heroes. By raising awareness and driving action, together, we’re able to help people protect their most precious sense so that they can see better, connect better, and live better.
You can use the QR code here to make a donation.
- Australian Government Department of Health, Eye Health, accessed 8 June 2021, Visit: www.health.gov.au/health-topics/eye-health
- The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020, accessed 28 July 2021, Visit (in key messages section): www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30488-5/fulltext#seccestitle10