To coincide with World Sight Day on October 13, numerous initiatives and events are being prepared to draw public attention to the issues of blindness and vision impairment. One of the highlights on World Sight Day will be the airing of the television documentary "SIGHT – The Story of Vision" on PBS affiliate stations in the US. Additionally, the film will be provided to international broadcasters for global distribution.
The one-hour documentary traces the progress in eye care and vision solutions over the past 800 years, as well as the growing worldwide vision crisis and efforts undertaken by individuals and organizations to resolve it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that reducing visual impairment is a global public health problem, and consequently, is one of the main goals of the WHO's Global Action Plan for 2014 – 2019, "Universal Eye Health."
Poor vision reduces productivity and has measurable, negative consequences of quality of life, education, and success at work. Ninety percent of visually impaired individuals with no access to modern eye and vision care live in developing countries. The WHO estimates that the world’s gross-domestic product could be $271 Billion (USD) higher if all of these people could get refractive correction and proper access to medical eye care.
"But when you widen the rather confined definition of 'visual impairment' and also start looking at the numbers of people affected by poor vision in general that could be easily treated with a pair of glasses, we are no longer talking about millions of people, but billions," said filmmaker and director of SIGHT, Kris Koenig.
“SIGHT reminds all of us what the vision care industry, optometry, and eye medicine is truly for: to give human beings the best possible vision, enable them to see the world, and contribute to the progress of humanity by improving lives through our products and services,” said Jens Boy, President of ZEISS Vision Care in North America. “There is a long way to go to provide all people around the globe with access to vision care and eye medicine. But this groundbreaking documentary shows many examples from across the globe on how the public and private sectors, as well as individuals, can and are collectively fighting the global vision crisis.”
"Stronger Together": World Premiere at Vision Expo West
The world premiere event of "SIGHT – The Story of Vision," put on by ZEISS and Luxottica, took place on the eve of Vision Expo West in Las Vegas on September 14, 2016. More than 250 representatives from throughout the eye care industry shared the moment as Koenig recalled this year's World Sight Day call for action: "There could hardly be a better motto than 'Stronger Together,' because it reflects perfectly the joint support of the eye care industry for this project. I am tremendously excited that 'SIGHT' has finally come to fruition. I can hardly wait to see the impact of this powerful story as it touches as many people as possible; increasing their appreciation of their own sight and educating them about the worldwide vision crisis we face."
Jens Boy added, "'SIGHT' is ‘edutainment’ at its best and in the truest sense. Television is the perfect medium to tell this 'Story of Vision' – a story that ZEISS has also been helping to shape as a leading player in the eye care industry for over 170 years now. This is why we are so pleased about the opportunity to help fund this project and provide professional expertise as a member of the advisory committee. We see this as part of our ongoing responsibility to fight preventable blindness and provide people in the developing world with access to modern eye care. Creating more awareness for vision impairment and preventable blindness as real world health issues is a major step in tackling this issue."
More about ZEISS Corporate Social Responsibility programs is available at www.zeiss.com/responsibility.