At present at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.
Those facts are key in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Report of Vision, released today on World Sight Day.
Produced at the request of Member States during a side event to the 70th World Health Assembly, and with the support of experts from around the world, the report provides evidence on the magnitude of eye conditions and vision impairment globally, draws attention to effective strategies to address eye care, and offers recommendations for action to improve eye care services worldwide.
From the report’s executive summary (access the entire report here):
“The global need for eyecare is projected to increase dramatically in the coming decades posing a considerable challenge to health systems. Despite concerted action during the past 30 years, significant challenges remain. The World Report on Vision seeks to stimulate action in countries to address these challenges by proposing integrated people-centered eyecare (IPCEC) as an approach to health system strengthening that builds the foundation for service delivery to address population needs. IPCEC refers to eyecare services that are managed and delivered to assure a continuum of promotive, preventive, treatment, and rehabilitative interventions against the spectrum of eye conditions, coordinated across the different levels and sites of care within and beyond the health sector, and according to their needs throughout the life course. IPCEC will also contribute to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3): ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’”
The release of the report is being lauded by vision-related organizations, including Orbis International and Prevent Blindness. Those two organizations released their own statements and goals regarding the WHO report finding.
Among the recommendations in the WHO report:
- Make eye care an integral part of universal health coverage.
- Implement integrated people-centered eye care in health systems.
- Promote high-quality implementation and health systems research complementing existing evidence for effective eye care interventions.
- Monitor trends and evaluate progress towards implementing integrated people-centered eye care.
- Raise awareness and engage and empower people and communities about eye care needs.