A total investment of $14 billion over the next 30 years can eliminate uncorrected poor vision by 2050, according to a new report “Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation: What will it take to eliminate uncorrected refractive errors by 2050?published by Essilor. Launched on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September, the report defines the scale of uncorrected poor vision globally and outlines solutions to eliminate the world’s largest unaddressed disability within one generation.

The world’s largest unaddressed disability

Uncorrected poor vision is the world’s most widespread disability: it affects one in three people across the globe, 90 percent of whom live at the economic base of the pyramid, and costs the global economy $272 billion in lost productivity each year. By 2050, uncorrected poor vision is predicted to reach epidemic proportions with over 50 percent of the world’s population expected to suffer from myopia, many with serious vision-threatening side effects and drastic long-term implications.

Efforts to bring good vision to everyone everywhere are being led by both the public and private sector and supported by multilateral organizations and donors today. And while great strides have been made in the areas of accessibility, affordability, addressing funding gaps and using innovation to produce cost-effective products and services, there remains a need to do more.

Poor vision can be eliminated by 2050

To gather more evidence-based insight into the scale of this vision care crisis, identify possible solutions and mobilize both public and private stakeholders, we initiated the report using analytical support provided by McKinsey. Findings indicate uncorrected poor vision can be eliminated by 2050 through an investment of $14 billion over the next 30 years, dedicated to creating sustainable access points for eye health services, innovating for affordable solutions, funding subsidized and free services as well as raising awareness.

Eliminating Poor Vision In A Generation Infographic

Using the key findings of the report as a starting point, we hosted a panel discussion, in partnership with the social enterprise and media platform Devex, on the sidelines of 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The discussion examined how we can overcome obstacles to meeting the 2050 target of universal vision, the need for specific funding, partnerships and awareness raising, as well as how we can jointly tackle the issue through economies of scale and cross-sector collaboration. The panel included Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer of EssilorLuxottica and EssilorNick Martin, Deputy CEO, The Fred Hollows FoundationAllyala Nandakumar, Chief Economist at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, USA and Former Chief Economist for Global Health, USAIDDr. Serge Resnikoff, International Expert on Eye Health and Former Senior Policy Advisor and Coordinator, World Health Organization as well as Elizabeth Smith, Co-founder and Chief Executive, EYElliance.

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As the world leader in ophthalmic optics, and a firm believer in business as a force for good, our ambition is to eliminate poor vision within one generation. While there have been many successful initiatives by both public and private actors in recent years, there is clearly a need to do more to bring good vision to everyone. At the same time, there is simply no blueprint to achieve our ambition. This report will provide the necessary guidance while engaging the different stakeholders towards one goal. It illustrates our endeavor to take our efforts further by investigating this vision crisis and uncovering how to solve it. Governments, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organizations, donors, eye care professionals and the private sector all have a role to play as we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end a public health crisis.

Speaking on the report, Hubert Sagnières, Executive Vice-Chairman of EssilorLuxottica and Chairman of Essilor said: “As the world leader in ophthalmic optics, and a firm believer in business as a force for good, our ambition is to eliminate poor vision within one generation. While there have been many successful initiatives by both public and private actors in recent years, there is clearly a need to do more to bring good vision to everyone. At the same time, there is simply no blueprint to achieve our ambition. This report will provide the necessary guidance while engaging the different stakeholders towards one goal. It illustrates our endeavor to take our efforts further by investigating this vision crisis and uncovering how to solve it. Governments, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organizations, donors, eye care professionals and the private sector all have a role to play as we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end a public health crisis.”

Download the report here and watch a recording of the panel discussion here.