World Sight Day--In Its Fifth Year of Preventing Blindness
October 8, 1998 -Lions Clubs International developed and launched World Sight Day to recognize the importance of eradicating preventable blindness around the world. Major events, including cataract and glaucoma screenings, collection of used eyeglasses for recycling and distribution of educational material, were held on six continents in New York City, London, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Sydney.
October 14, 1999 -Lions Clubs International held the second World Sight Day observance in Nairobi, Kenya. Activities included a traveling eye clinic sponsored by Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital in Nairobi, which conducted hundreds of screenings in distant villages. A number of men, women and children were brought to Lions Eye Hospital for immediate surgery. In addition, Lions Clubs International pledged to save or restore the sight of 20,000 people each week throughout the year 2000. That pledge was achieved with the assistance of Lions clubs around the world.
October 12, 2000 -Lions Clubs International held the third World Sight Day in Beijing, China. In partnership with the Chinese government, the Lions Clubs International Foundation's SightFirst China Action Program had already made tremendous strides in combating blindness and restoring sight through means such as cataract surgery. Included in the activities was a massive public screening of young children in Beijing. Lions clubs around the world also marked the occasion with a variety of activities. In addition, in 2000 World Sight Day became an official Vision 2020: The Right to Sight event. Vision 2020 is a coalition of 26 international organizations, including the World Health Organization, that work to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.
October 11, 2001 -The lead events for World Sight Day were held in Sao Paulo and San Jose dos Campos, Brazil. Nearly 4,000 children received vision screenings and Lions Clubs International announced a $3.75 million grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation to combat the cause of childhood blindness. The funds will establish 25 "centers of excellence" on five continents to train personnel and coordinate blindness prevention efforts. Lions clubs from around the world, including from London, New Zealand and South Africa, conducted additional activities. Vision 2020 organizations also marked the occasions with numerous activities.
October 10, 2002 -World Sight Day will be marked in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles as well as elsewhere in the United States and around the world. In Washington, the National Eye Institute, Lions Clubs International, Lighthouse International and the International Association to Prevent Blindness/North America will conduct a press conference and vision screenings at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. In the Los Angeles area, Lions Clubs International will celebrate Lions World Sight Day with a major screening and announce new vision-related programs. This year, Lions Clubs International has issued a special plea to its 44,600 clubs in 190 countries and geographic areas to plan a sight-related activity sometime in October. Other activities are being scheduled by Vision 2020 organizations.