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World Sight Day: 6 Ways You Can Give the Gift of Vision

We take our vision for granted, but imagine not seeing rainbows, a loved one's face or not being able to read the chalkboard in a classroom.

In fact, a July 2018 survey found that of the five senses, a majority would miss sight the most.

Young boy covering his eye during an eye exam.

On World Sight Day (Oct. 11, 2018), you can give the gift of vision to some of the estimated 253 million people who are visually impaired or blind. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors (which a pair of glasses usually can fix) and cataracts are the top two causes of vision impairment.

That's where you can make a difference. Here are six organizations providing eye exams and eyeglasses to children, training teachers in eye health issues, and helping those who are blind.

Your donation can improve the vision of people in your community and around the world, underscoring World Sight Day 2018's focus: Eye Care Everywhere.

Optometry Giving Sight

Raise funds for eye care: The World Sight Day Challenge  is a major, international fundraising campaign. It's coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight as a way to bring the global optometric community together and help end avoidable blindness and vision impairment.

How you can make a difference: Donate or pick a fundraising activity. Your support will make an immediate and long-lasting impact.

Lions Club International Foundation

Donate glasses for recycling: World Sight Day traces its start to Lions Club International Foundation's Sight First campaign in 2000, and vision remains one of the Lions' five global service areas.

How you can make a difference: With the Lions Recycle for Sight program, you can donate your usable eyewear at Lions-sponsored collection boxes in your community. Lions, Leos and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses and deliver them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers . For information specific to locations in your community, contact your local Lions club.

OneSight

Volunteer in your community: Volunteers help OneSight to achieve its mission "to bring eye exams and glasses to the 1 in 7 people on our planet who lack access to vision care."

How you can make a difference: OneSight's Time Counts volunteer platform  makes it easy to donate an hour or more of your time at local community vision events, making a direct impact in the community in which you live.

On World Sight Day, OneSight's Day of Service events will provide vision care and eyeglasses across 10 countries and will serve populations ranging from students to prison inmates to refugees.

Orbis

Dedicate a gift of sight: Orbis, known for its Flying Eye Hospital, has been treating and preventing blindness for more than 35 years. Since 1982, Orbis has conducted training programs in over 92 countries and trained hundreds of thousands of medical professionals.

How you can make a difference: You can celebrate someone special in your life by dedicating a gift to Orbis  in his or her name. Recipients will be notified of your gift by receiving a hand-addressed Orbis acknowledgement card in the mail.

Essilor Vision Foundation

Kids Vision Day
About 400 North Texas schoolchildren received eye exams through the Essilor Vision Foundation last Thursday. The kids will receive their free eyeglasses on World Sight Day.

Be an advocate for eye health: Essilor Vision Foundation's  mission is to provide Better Life through Better Sight around the globe from locations in the U.S, Europe, China, India, Southeast Asia and other countries.

In the U.S., Essilor Vision Foundation works with schools, nonprofits and charitable eye doctors who volunteer their time providing eye exams. Essilor Vision Foundation distributes over 250,000 pairs of glasses each year to ensure patients receive glasses.

How you can make a difference: To support World Sight Day, be an advocate for vision in your own home and community by encouraging your family and friends to schedule an eye exam.

International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

Show your support: The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, coordinator of World Sight Day, notes that 1.2 billion people don't have access to glasses.

How you can make a difference: The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and Bayer are encouraging amateur and professional photographers from around the world to take part in a "Eye Care Everywhere" international photography competition .

However you choose to mark World Sight Day — whether it's by donating, volunteering, scheduling an eye exam or by fundraising — you're helping those with vision problems to see more clearly. You’re also not taking your vision for granted.

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Page updated October 2018