It may shock you to know that according to the World Health Organization there are 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired, 39 million of whom are completely blind. The majority of the 10 million Americans who have retinal diseases have at least some vision, though for some it’s worsening quickly and for others the decline is gradual. Some are losing peripheral and night vision, others central vision.
Thus, October has become Blindness Awareness Month, discouraging the traditional stereotypes about blind people and raising awareness of the diseases that cause blindness. Eye Care Month, White Cane Awareness Month, Meet the Blind Month, Children’s Vision Month, Eye Injury Prevention Month, National Braille Week (Oct. 10-16), World Sight Day (Oct. 13), White Cane Safety Day (Oct. 15), and Blind Americans Equality Day (Oct. 15) also fall in October – are you sensing a theme yet?!
The Foundation Fighting Blindness drives the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. If you’re interested in getting involved, visit them at www.blindness.org. And, it is estimated that up to 80% of blindness is avoidable through prevention or treatment, so be sure to schedule annual eye exams for yourself and your loved ones!