October 22, 2019
2 min read

Ophthalmic industry recognizes World Sight Day

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Industry members and ophthalmic organizations recognized World Sight Day with public relations efforts, fundraisers, policies and briefings.

Alcon announced that its associates around the world participated in activities to support the advancement of eye health, the company said in a press release. As part of this effort, Alcon announced that its theme for next year is, “Alcon: The official sponsor of 20/20,” designed to help people around the world “see brilliantly” and preserve their sight.

Activities around the world include free eye health and vision screenings, the Cycle for Sight 20/20 Challenge to raise funds for vision and eye health charities, a dry eye awareness initiative and vision research recognition.

Outside of World Sight Day, Alcon said it works to increase access to quality eye care and drive eye care provider training in the local community as well as a partnership with Orbis and support of 600 charitable medical missions.

Prevent Blindness announced on World Sight Day (Oct. 10) that Horizon Therapeutics will donate $1 to the group to fund thyroid eye disease education every time someone texts “EYE” to 56512 through the end of October. This year’s dialogue emphasizes “vision first” with a call to the community to make vision a priority, Prevent Blindness said in a press release.

In honor of World Sight Day, Orbis International recognized that the global demand for eye care is expected to triple over the next 3 decades, the group said in a press release.


Orbis said it focuses on a people-centered approach that involves training local eye health teams to sustain long-term access to quality eye care in their communities. The group noted that tools such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and telemedicine will become more important as populations and patient loads increase.

Vision 2020 USA hosted a World Sight Day congressional briefing on Oct. 17, sharing insights on artificial intelligence (AI), information technology (IT) and big data for vision and eye health, according to moderator Mitchell V. Brinks, MD, MPH, Vision 2020 USA chair.

Brinks told Primary Care Optometry News that Michael F. Chiang, MD, described the potential to harness AI to better diagnose and treat retinopathy of prematurity and age-related macular degeneration as well as screen for eye disease, perhaps in the primary care physician office or community sites. He said that Chiang also discussed how AI can be used to predict systemic health issues such as cardiovascular disease and possibly those related to cognitive decline.

Big data gleaned from health care registries can help in the development of population-based medicine, leading to more personalized health care approaches and better and more accessible eye care, Chiang said.

Also at the briefing, Victoria Sheffield, of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, referenced the World Health Organization Report, which estimates there are 2.2 billion people around the world with vision impairment, and she said better broad population information and eye health systems integration were key priorities to improve eye care, Brinks said. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO