The Countess of Wessex has thrown her support behind the #LoveYourEyes campaign launching today on World Sight Day (14 October).
In an effort to show her support, the Countess visited Perseid School in London to encourage everyone to get their eyes tested. The school educates children from 3-19 with learning disabilities and special education needs.
Her Royal Highness, who serves as an IAPB Global Ambassador, said: “The key thing I have learnt with all my work from Vision 2020 and IAPB is that the vision sector has really come together over the years, especially for World Sight Day. What is really inspiring to see is that best practices are so easily shared through IAPB. These best practices can hopefully influence everything else and improve the lives of millions around the world who have poor vision.”
Over three million people have pledged to get their eyes tested on World Sight Day. The global health crisis led to fewer people getting their eyes checked, spending more time looking at screens and less time outside. They shared that 90 per cent of sight loss can be prevented if caught early emphasising the importance of eye screenings.
The #LoveYourEyes campaign was created in coordination with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and sight tests are being carried out across the globe to mark the day. Locations include the Tower Bridge in London, Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Brooklyn Bridge in New York and Bluff Point in New Zealand. It is being supported by the non-profit trade association for the video game industry, The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also supports the campaign and has offered advice on people getting their eye’s checked.
WHO’s Alarcos Cieza, Unit Head for Vision, Disability and Rehabilitation, said, in part, “The last year has been incredibly tough on people, and it has been tough on their eyes too. We have found ourselves spending more time looking at screens, spending less time outside, and we have also had to miss sight check-ups. However, there are a few easy things we can do to show our eyes and our loved ones’ eyes, especially our children’s, some extra care.”
IAPB has warned that half of the world’s population will be short-sighted by 2050.