Eye Care Awareness Month was commemorated this year from 24 September to 18 October, with World Sight Day falling on 12 October, to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, specifically around the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness, embracing the theme, ‘Love Your Eyes at Work’. Eighty percent of all cases of blindness are avoidable either through prevention or through treatment – which is why it is important to get your eyes tested at least once per year.
As the world recognised the importance of Eye Care Awareness Month, the South African Optometric Association (SAOA) focused national attention on the importance of prioritising eye health in the workplace as part of this year’s Love Your Eyes campaign. The month was celebrated nationally, with events and screenings being held in offices, churches, schools, and trucker stops, amongst others. Other events included ‘The Big Walk for Sight’ in Cape Town and A ‘Grannies Screening and Awareness campaign’ in Tzaneen.
The focus on eye health in the workplace follows the release of a report by The International Labour Organization (ILO) and IAPB that stresses the importance of protecting workers’ eyesight. According to Eye Health and the World of Work, eye health significantly affects labour markets with workers with vision impairment being 30 percent less likely to be employed, compared to those without. This year’s Love Your Eyes at Work campaign and World Sight Day celebrations call on employers everywhere to do more to protect the eye health of workers everywhere.
“We know that eye health has a profound impact on the wellbeing, productivity, and safety of employees, and during ECAM and World Sight Day, we are committed to reinforcing the importance of eye health in the workplace. The Love Your Eyes at Work campaign and World Sight Day celebrations act as a timely reminder to us all of the vital role our eyes can play in helping us reach our full potential at work and beyond,” said Nivien Subramany, President of the SAOA. “In a world where, for many, equitable access to eye care remains a distant reality, pledging to ‘Love Your Eyes’ and hosting workplace vision screenings act as a powerful form of advocacy”.
For further information, the SAOA can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.