World Sight Day 2015


What is World Sight Day?

World Sight Day, celebrated this year on October 8, is an annual day of awareness around blindness and visual impairments. The ‘Call to Action’ this World Sight Day is ‘Eye care for All’. On this day, NGOs, DPOs and civil organisations all come together to raise public awareness of blindness & vision impairment as major international public health issues and also influence Governments and Ministers of Health to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programmes.

The rolling theme for the World Sight Day is ‘Universal Eye Health’. In 2013 the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019 was approved by the World Health Assembly. The vision of this Global Action Plan (GAP) is a world where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential, and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care, integrated health systems and rehabilitation services.

Key Statistics

  • Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness
  • Of these, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment
  • 90% of blind people live in low-income countries
  • Yet 80% of visual impairment is avoidable - i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable
  • Restorations of sight, and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care
  • An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired.
    (Source: IAPB)

Celebrate World Sight Day with CBM

CBM hosts the Neglected Tropical Diseases Conference in Abu Dhabi

CBM is an active member of the Neglected Tropical Disease NGDO Network (NNN) - a global forum for non - government development organisations working to control NTDs. This year CBM hosted the NNN Conference in Abu Dhabi, with over 150 organisations and 240 participants in attendance. Read more about the event here.

Miracles Day in Australia!

In late August this year CBM Australia celebrated Miracles Day to raise money for cataract patients. Over 800,000 Aus dollars were raised to carry out over 25,000 cataract surgeries (interesting fact: a cataract surgery can cost as little as 32 Aus dollars and takes place in under twelve minutes!). This campaign was broadcasted by 24 Australian radio stations and four of them travelled along with the CBM Australia team to broadcast LIVE from Nepal. This has been one of our most successful campaigns this year, restoring sight and hope to over 25,000 people!

CBMA’s fund-raising director, Heath McSolvin says –
"This year's Miracles Day was CBMA's biggest ever with over 25,000 Miracles given! It's a unique day where radio stations right across Australia donate their air time to help us connect with their generous audience. We're truly thankful to the Australian public who have engaged with our campaign and we look forward to an even bigger and better Miracles Day in 2016. "

Vision 2020

In 1999 CBM was one of the founding organisations to launch VISION 2020, a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.

Read more about this initiative here.​​​​​​​

CBM and Neglected Tropical Diseases

For many years CBM along with its partners has been actively combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as trachoma and onchocerciasis (river blindness). NTDs affect the poorest populations in the developing world living in remote, rural areas, urban slums, or conflict zones where there is little money for medication and health care. One sixth of the world's population — more than one billion people — suffers from one or more NTD. Another 2 billion people are at risk, mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics. NTDs cause great human misery, often aggravated by social stigmatisation and discrimination, especially for women. They cause pain, disfigurement, and disability (mental and physical), and result in about half a million deaths each year.

CBM and partners primarily focus on prevention and treatment to combat trachoma and river blindness.
For more information read our CBM NTD Report 2015.

  • 16,675,731 persons received treatments through MDA with Mectizan
  • These were mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in Nigeria and in Burundi.
  • 3,696,468 persons, mostly in DRC, received health education for the prevention of river blindness.
  • 15,430 patients received rehabilitation services.
  • 177,472 CDTI community and health workers were provided training

  • 10,914 TT surgeries were supported, mainly in Africa.
  • 1,663,386 persons received antibiotic treatments though MDA with Zithromax/TEO, mainly in Nigeria and in Ethiopia.
  • 2,535,348 persons, mainly in Africa, received health education in facial cleanliness and environmental improvement
  • 39,483 community and health workers were provided training, over 88% of these in Africa
  • 1,760 training trachoma trichiasis surgeons were trained or re-trained; with CBM support, many more eye health cadres were trained in TT surgery as part of their national curricula

Core mission of CBM

Free eye examination camps conducted by CBM and partners in India to commemorate World Sight Day 2013

CBM started off as an organisation primarily serving blind people. Our founder Pastor Ernst J. Christoffel founded a home in Malatia, Turkey for blind and otherwise disabled and orphaned children back in 1908. Since then our policy has widened from serving blind people to giving all persons with disabilities access to basic healthcare services.

However restoring vision still remains one of our most fundamental activities. The CBM family worldwide has helped restore the miracle of sight to over 12 million people since 1966, helping transform lives… and we are still going strong! 

More reading

CBM hosts NTD NGDO Network Meetings 2015

CBM hosted the 6th Session of the NTD NGDO Network in Abu Dhabi, with over 150 organisations and 240 participants in attendance

Coordinating trachoma efforts in Africa

We speak with Helen Bokea, the CBM regional trachoma coordinator for Africa, about her work with NTDs in the region.