The Commission Report was published last week and highlights that improving eye health has immediate and substantial benefits.
This high-level launch event today brought together Heads of State, Ministers, UN representatives and experts in the field of vision to discuss the findings of the Lancet and how to take them forward during the next decade of action and delivery on the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Commission Report on Global Eye Health, authored by 73 leading experts from 25 countries, calls for eye care to be included in mainstream health services and development policies, arguing that it is essential to achieving universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Building on the foundation laid by WHO and partners in VISION 2020, and the recent WHO World Report on Vision, this Commission demonstrates that—with the right tools, strategies, and sufficient funding—improving eye health has immediate and substantial benefits for economic and social prosperity for individuals and nations.
Some key messages in the Report:
- Eye health is essential to achieve the SDGs; vision needs to be reframed as a development issue
- Financial barriers to accessing eye care leave many people behind; eye health needs to be included in national health financing to pool the risk
- Research has been crucial to understand and treat eye disease; solution-focused research is urgently needed to deliver innovative prevention and treatment strategies
- The eye health workforce is unable to meet population needs in many countries; major expansion in service capacity is required through increased numbers, strengthened training, and effective leadership.
Our contribution to the Lancet Report
CBM has made significant contributions to the Commission Report. Dr. Babar Qureshi, CBM’s Director of Inclusive Eye Health, was one of of the 73 core authors of the Commission Report. Other eye health experts from CBM have provided important input to the Commission’s sub-committee reports. CBM has provided technical advice and expertise to the Commission, and some of our research work has also been reflected within the Report and the sub-committee reports. Lastly, the Commission was also supported by financial grants from CBM.
Some key figures from the Report indicate the following:
- 1.1 billion people were living with untreated vision impairment in 2020, and this is expected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2050. Yet over 90% of vision loss could be prevented or treated with existing, highly cost-effective interventions.
- Addressing preventable sight loss could bring global economic benefits of US$411 billion a year and is essential to achieving the UN’s SDGs.
- To help achieve immediate and substantial benefits for societies and people living with vision impairment, governments must include eye health in broader health care planning and financing, harness new technology to improve diagnosis and treatment, and expand the eye health workforce, so that everyone can access high-quality eye care.
The Lancet Commission calls on governments to include eye health in their wider health care planning. It makes a compelling case for the global economic benefits of effective, inclusive eye health services and the importance of addressing eye care inequalities in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. I have been glad to participate as one of the co-authors of the commission, providing technical advice and research along with some of my CBM colleagues. This commission will help to draw the attention of the global community to the on-going need for effective eye care services and the very real difference such services can make to people's lives.Dr. Babar Qureshi, Director Inclusive Eye Health at CBM, and one of the authors of the Commission Report
Join the Online Launch Event
If you'd like to join the UN launch event on 24th Feb 2021, please register here.