The world owes a great deal to the World Health Organization (WHO), currently leading global efforts to fight COVID-19.
From developing a preparedness and response plan, to daily situation updates and live Q&As, to launching the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, WHO has been determined and swift in combating the pandemic.
As it continues its leadership and efforts in managing the situation, it could be easy to forget the amazing work it does across many other important health issues such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV year after year.
In October 2019, WHO launched its first World report on vision which seeks to raise awareness of the global magnitude of eye conditions and draw attention to effective strategies to respond to eye care needs.
The report projects that global demand for eye care is set to surge in the coming years due to population growth, ageing, and changes in lifestyle but health systems face significant challenges in meeting current and projected needs. Yet there is no choice but to take on these challenges now.
WHO believes that integrated people-centered eye care has the potential to accelerate action and meet these challenges. For this to become a reality, five important actions are recommended:
- 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.
The report is an important reference document for Essilor and we support its findings and recommendations. In fact, there are many synergies between the World report on vision and our own Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation report, which focuses specifically on uncorrected refractive error, the leading cause of vision impairment and the second leading cause of blindness in the world. The synergies show we are aligned on the way forward to combat eye conditions, including uncorrected refractive error.
We recognize that eye conditions, including uncorrected refractive error, is a critical global health issue that won’t improve on its own. As the global health community works to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Essilor, together with our dedicated partners, will continue to champion eye health and work for the 1 in 3 people who cannot see the world clearly in a socially responsible and safe way.