World Optometry Day has been held every March 23rd ever since the International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL) began commemorating it in 1986. Optometry is vital to ensuring our quality of life by examining, diagnosing, and treating minor or significant eye and vision problems — particularly as the field of optometry is expanding due to rising cases of vision issues around the globe; in fact, half the population is projected to have myopia/nearsightedness by 2050.

In 2023, optometry practitioners around the globe were asked what this day meant to them, and a common thread was seen in their responses: that eyesight is precious and must be protected for as many people as possible for as long as possible. This day honors the growing need for and significance of optometry in today’s world, along with celebrating the optometry professionals who have elevated the industry to what it is today.

History of World Optometry Day

Eye care existed around three hundred years ago, but it was not until the early and middle of the 20th century that eye professionals fully grasped the concept of refraction. They began prescribing spectacles and other tailor-made tools to improve patients’ vision during this time. As the decades passed, optometry evolved to accommodate the treatment of certain eye conditions and diseases that did not require surgery. The tradition has continued since the first-ever celebration on March 23, 1986. Today, the IOOL is known as the World Council of Optometry (WCO), but the special occasion carries the same spirit, reminding everyone to prioritize their eye health.

This year, the WCO has expanded celebrations, with World Optometry Week beginning on March 17 and culminating on March 23. The theme for 2024 is “Advancing Optometry’s Commitment to Global Eye Care,” focusing on eye care as a human right for which equitable access should be provided. Supported by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the organization has prepared resources in various languages to help spread the word and treat preventable blindness issues among children and adults.

How to Celebrate World Optometry Day

You can celebrate World Optometry Day by taking good care of your eyes. This begins by scheduling regular check-ups once a year or as indicated by your optometrist. Secondly, those with existing vision issues can invest in a quality pair of eyeglasses, which come in various iconic styles to suit all face shapes while ensuring clarity. Lightweight options like the Ray-Ban Aviator Optics come in an unmistakable pilot-shaped frame for comfortable wear. On the other hand, classic silhouettes like the Ray-Ban Clubmaster Optics feature an acetate browline design for an intellectual appeal. Choosing durable frames ensures long-term reliability and usability, even as your prescription changes over time and you need to replace the lenses.

Thirdly, you don’t have to wait until June 27 to celebrate National Sunglasses Day and wear your favorite pair of sunglasses. UV damage can threaten eye health by causing uncomfortable glare, so wearing shades can help protect your eyes and avoid cataract formation, macular degeneration, and other vision issues in the long run. It helps to look for special lenses that enhance UV protection, like the Maui Jim collection, where the brand emphasizes the importance of shielding your eyes from the sun. The rectangular Honokalani style features sharp angles and a flatter form factor, making it easy to pack and not leave behind. Meanwhile, the titanium-framed Tiger Lily features MauiBrilliant™ lens material for scratch resistance without compromising clarity. Wearing prescription or protective eyewear regularly is one way to stay on top of your eye health—and make your optometrist proud!

Other Celebrations on March 23

March 23 is also celebrated as

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