While Prevent Blindness work generally focuses on improving access to vision and eye health care domestically, numerous efforts to achieve vision and eye health on the global stage through the efforts of international, health-oriented convening bodies and nongovernmental organizations can inform and offer solutions in the United States as well as signify the leadership of the American government and people in leading on issues of global importance.
Prevent Blindness partners with organizations such as the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to raise the profile of policies, practices, and economic projections around vision and eye health to Members of Congress and the Executive Branch to help inform decisions around international development and aid, foreign policy, and global health. Through events such as World Sight Day, a concerted effort across the global vision and eye health community helps to raise the profile of vision in unique local ways that have a global effect. Efforts from internationally-focused stakeholders can help inform any efforts with convening organizations like the United Nations, whose sustainable development growth (SDG) goals may include vision.
Additionally, a 2019 World Health Organization report on vision offers potential solutions for the global vision and eye community to implement that underscore the need for vision to be elevated as a means to unlock human potential around the world. An equally significant report published in February 2021 by The Lancet Global Health Commission found that over 1.1 billion people worldwide live with blindness or vision impairment, with over 90% of cases considered preventable or treatable. An additional 700 million people will live with untreated vision impairment by 2050. The findings of this report underscored the UN’s acceptance of the first-ever resolution on vision in 2021.
United Nations General Assembly “Vision for Everyone” Resolution
In July 2021, the United Nations (UN) passed the first-ever resolution on vision and eye health with unanimous support from all 193 countries who are members of the UN. While UN resolutions are not bound by law, they reflect the sentiment and recognition of the global community. This resolution seeks to integrate eye health as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sets a target date of 2030, by which time all countries will have ensured full access to eye care services for their populations. The significance of this resolution cannot be overstated: around 1.1 billion people are estimated to be at risk for preventable vision loss, and vision health overlaps many of the SDGs around eradicating poverty, ensuring health and wellness, education, economic growth and prosperity, improved equity, and reducing inequalities.
Prevent Blindness was proud to lend our efforts in reaching out to the United States Ambassador to the UN, urging the support of the United States in ensuring passage of this important resolution.
- Vision for Everyone: Accelerating Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations Resolution 75/310
- World Report on Vision – World Health Organization
- Global Eye Health: Vision Beyond 2020 – The Lancet Global Health Commission
- Vision Atlas – International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness