World Sight Day campaign slogan “LOVE YOUR EYES”
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) observes World Sight Day on the second Thursday of October every year. The theme of this year's campaign is “LOVE YOUR EYES AT WORK,” and a variety of activities are being conducted around the world to raise awareness of and educate workers about blindness and visual impairment.
Through an interview with an IAPB representative, we will share with you why eye care in the workplace is important in the context of social issues, and then provide an example of how Santen is working to improve the eye health of employees of the company and other companies.
The IAPB, founder of World Sight Day and the world’s largest international organization focusing on eye care, utilizes a broad network of healthcare professionals, universities, research institutions, companies, and NGOs to lead international efforts to realize a world where everyone has access to eye care. As a specialized company dedicated to eye health, Santen aspires to contribute to the realization of “Happiness with Vision”: The Happiest Life for every individual, through the Best Vision Experience, Santen signed a partnership agreement with IAPB in 2021 and has been collaborating ever since.
■ Read the press release here:
Today, an estimated 1.1 billion people are living with preventable sight loss due to a lack of access to basic eye care services.1 Because vision loss can have a significant detrimental psychological impact on quality of life (QOL), including depression and social isolation, vision loss prevention is a critically important social issue.
According to “Eye health and the world of work,” a report jointly prepared by the IAPB and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in September 2023, approximately 13 million people worldwide suffer from work-related eye problems or disabilities, and an estimated 3.5 million people suffer eye injuries in the workplace every year. In addition, employment opportunities for people with eye problems or disabilities are reported to be 30% lower than for those without. Eye health needs to be considered in order to improve safety and productivity in the workplace.
In acknowledgement of the social impact and context, the IAPB has decided “LOVE YOUR EYES AT WORK” as the theme for this year’s World Sight Day, creating an opportunity to remind not just workers, but also management about the importance of eye care. Given the significant increase in remote work and greater reliance on digital devices as the result of the coronavirus pandemic, thinking about the importance of eye health and encouraging eye care on a daily basis is meaningful.
World Sight Day campaign slogan “LOVE YOUR EYES”
Poster promoting the importance of eye care in the workplace
“Inadequate access to eye care means that many people around the world suffer from eye diseases and issues that should be preventable,” said Simon Darvill, IAPB Communications Director and organizer of the World Sight Day campaign. “If we look at the working environment, we can see that in addition to drivers and factory workers, the number of people overworking their eyes—and the amount of time they spend doing so—has increased in step with the growth in remote work during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Given this social context, this year's campaign seeks to raise awareness of eye care in the workplace and promote efforts to broaden the base of eye care for the general public,” continued Darvill. “We hope that this campaign will not be a temporary movement, but will raise awareness and encourage people to take some actions. We will continue to work with our partners and organizations to help reduce the social and economic opportunity losses caused by eye diseases and issues.”
Simon Darvill (Center), IAPB Communications Director
1 IAPB Vision Atlas: https://www.iapb.org/learn/vision-atlas/
Santen has developed a range of activities to promote workers' eye health, centered on Japan. Here we introduce some of these internal and external initiatives.
Santen, in collaboration with Cordbook Inc., has developed an eye care program for employees, "Eye Care Challenge: Monthly Program," to help improve the business performance of Japanese companies engaged in health and productivity management2.
With the number of companies practicing health and productivity management increasing and employee eye problems becoming more apparent as teleworking becomes more prevalent, this program, which aims to improve eye health by focusing on reducing eye strain, is packaged with the followings:
1. A lecture from an ophthalmologist on measures to prevent eye fatigue, dry eye and eye diseases
2. Exercises to reduce eye strain and neck and shoulder stiffness supervised by an athletic trainer and a physical therapist
3. A self-check application supervised by an ophthalmologist
4. A follow-up delivery program to help habituate self-care.
To date, the program has been introduced at major companies in sectors ranging from IT & telecommunications through to research and manufacturing. A survey conducted with one of these companies—Konica Minolta Health Insurance Society—showed that after participating in the program, the percentage of respondents who reported poor eye health decreased from 41% to 18%. Furthermore, a higher percentage of those who reported reduced eye fatigue also experienced reduced neck/shoulder stiffness and headaches compared to those who did not report any reduction in eye fatigue.
This program illustrates the ways in which Santen, by promoting evidence-based knowledge cultivated in the prescription pharmaceutical business, is developing a range of solutions and services.
■ Read the Santen Report 2023 on ‘Heath and Productivity Management’ here:
2 Health and Productivity Management is a registered trademark of Non-profit Organization Kenkokeiei
In conjunction with World Sight Day, all Santen employees are invited to "Vision Experience Weeks," an internal event for learning, experiencing, and sharing. The purpose of this event is to think about the importance of eye health, to deepen understanding of people with visual impairments in the workplace and around us, and to develop compassion for others.
Here are two of the most unique programs from the wide variety of events held during the period.
First is a simulated visual impairment experience held at overseas locations and offices. Participants wear low vision goggles and solve puzzles or read books to experience what it is like to be visually impaired. In Japan, a "Parent-Child Adventure!" event for Santen employees and their children was held at the HQ office.
Second is an event where people with visual impairment or low vision can actively participate in addressing everyday problems by using the 'Be My Eyes' application, which provides visual assistance through video calls. Under a partnership agreement with Be My Eyes, employees in EMEA, Asia, China, and the United States volunteer to participate.
A father and his son solving puzzles wearing an eye-mask at the event "Parent-Child Adventure!"