Every October, Blindness Awareness Month brings a heightened focus on the blind and visually impaired community and the realities of living without sight. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “everyone, if they live long enough, will experience at least one eye condition in their lifetime”. The proof is in the numbers. An estimated 2.2 billion people around the globe suffer from some form of visual impairment or blindness – including everyone who simply wears corrective lenses. One billion of these cases could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. So, we should all understand how to maintain optimal eye health and how to navigate life with visual impairments, whether for ourselves or loved ones. Read on to learn how you can observe, celebrate, and advocate during Blindness Awareness Month.
History of Blindness Awareness Month
Blindness Awareness Month launched in October 2009 from The Little Rock Foundation, an organization in Voorhees, New Jersey, dedicated to serving families with blind or visually impaired children. Tina and Rocco Fiorentino formed The Little Rock Foundation one year after the birth of their child, Rocco, who was born four months premature and blind. As Ambassador for The Little Rock Foundation, Rocco has shown the world blindness doesn’t prevent people from living life to the fullest.
Blindness Awareness Month seeks to accomplish many things:
- Education: Companies around the world teach the public about good eye health and the latest research and innovations in the treatment of eye disorders.
- Inspiration: Stories are shared about blind or visually impaired people accomplishing incredible things most sighted people do not attempt.
- Advocacy: Organizations garner support for more resources, research, access, and laws that enable people with visual impairments to live fully productive lives and contribute equally to their communities.
There is no shortage of ways to learn about, celebrate, and support the visually impaired community throughout Blindness Awareness Month.