World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual awareness day that is observed on the second Thursday of October, every year. It is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). It is an international day of awareness designed to focus the world’s attention on, and encourage all of us to think about, the importance of our eye health. WSD was first observed as an IAPB event in the year 2000. It has been observed throughout the world every year since.

The theme of WSD this year is “Love your Eyes at Work”. The theme calls on us to appreciate the importance of protecting our vision in the workplace. It also invites business leaders the world over to prioritise the eye health of workers.

Almost every workplace today has some digital component in its workflow. A vast segment of the world’s employees is required to view, on a daily basis, digital images projected on to a screen of one kind or the other. Prolonged screen time at work can lead to ‘digital eye strain’, which in turn often leads to compromised vision. Both can lead to reduced productivity and to mistakes at work. As employees, we can make simple adjustments to our daily work habits to reduce digital eye strain. These include taking frequent breaks, using the ‘20-20-20 rule’ —every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Employers also have a responsibility to prioritise and protect the eye health of their employees. They should encourage their employees to have their eyes tested regularly; provide appropriate eye protection equipment where necessary; provide adequate training to employees on eye safety and on the proper use of eye protection equipment; and regularly promote good eye health practices in the workplace. Employers should also try to ensure that eye care for their employees is available, accessible and affordable.

For World Sight Day 2023, let us all, employers and employees together, commit to taking concrete and practical steps to value and to protect the health of our eyes. Let us all make caring for our eyes a priority. #Loveyoureyes and get them tested today!