October: World Blindness Awareness Month

Start date: October 1, 2019

End date: October 31, 2019

World Blindness Awareness Month was established for every October to help people understand the realities of living without sight. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 285 million people suffer from blindness or visual impairment worldwide. In the United States about 4 million Americans are blind. 47,000, or about one person every minute, become blind each year. October is a Month-long Celebration of Blindness Awareness.

At least 40 of the 50 United States and countries worldwide organize events through the month of October as part of World Blindness Awareness Month to bring awareness to blindness and related issues.

National Braille Week — October 8-14th

National Braille Week, #NationalBrailleWeek is observed October 8th – 14th to raise awareness of Braille and other non-visual systems that open up written text and literacy to the blind. Braille is more than 200 years old and is used in 120 countries. Braille helps people write and read books, magazines, exam papers, business and legal documents, use phones, computers and other smart devices to name just a few.

Braille is all around us: on ATMs, elevators, way-finding signs, in hospitals, public and private buildings and more. National Braille Week helps us be mindful of the importance of Braille and to understand how more needs to be done to incorporate Braille to increase literacy and give equal access to the blind.

World Sight Day – October 11th

World Sight Day is held the second Thursday of every October as a global event to bring awareness to avoidable blindness issues.
#WorldSightDay has 3 goals:

  1. To raise public awareness about blindness and vision impairment
  2. To influence governments to support blindness prevention
  3. To educate people about avoidable blindness

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) , under the direction of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), and the Lion’s Club International work together to coordinate activities and events the world over to celebrate World Sight Day.

White Cane Safety Day – October 15th

White Cane Safety Day was first signed and proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1964. #WhiteCaneSafetyDay celebrates the achievements of the blind, as well as to recognize the white cane as a “staff of independence for blind people.”

White Cane Safety Day is a day where governments reaffirm commitment to providing services to increase the independence and self-sufficiency of the blind. White Cane Safety Day is also a day to remind motorists and pedestrians to yield to people using white canes.
During White Cane Safety Day, people conduct meetings and ceremonies, set up displays, have special walks, hand out t-shirts and literature and release public service announcements as part of celebrations.

Blind Americans Equality Day – October 15th

In addition to White Cane Safety Day, Former President Barack Obama has also named every October 15th to be Blind Americans Equality Day to celebrate the important role blind and visually impaired Americans have played in the nation’s life and culture. The Presidential Proclamation for Blind Americans Equality Day states:

“As business leaders and public advocates, teachers and scientists, musicians and athletes, and in countless other ways, blind and visually impaired Americans have profoundly enriched every part of our national life. Today, we celebrate their innumerable contributions, and we recommit to guaranteeing equal access, equal opportunity, and equal respect for all Americans.” Blind Americans Equality Day celebrates the contributions of blind and visually impaired Americans and calls for greater equality in access for all.