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Eye health groups call for urgent action to prevent blindness

April 2018
A group of six children sit on the floor, some have glasses and all of them are smiling.

Sightsavers and five other eye health organisations have issued a joint open letter saying urgent action is needed to prevent the number of people who are blind and have poor eyesight from trebling by 2050.

The letter aims to put pressure on Commonwealth governments ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which opens next week in London.

In March, we reported that Sightsavers, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Fred Hollows Foundation, Peek Vision, Clearly and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control have come together under the banner “Vision for the Commonwealth” to raise awareness of this issue and unite governments, advocates, service providers and supporters to bring vision to everyone, everywhere.

Sightsavers CEO Dr Caroline Harper said: “We must all work together to intensify our efforts to ensure that every person in the Commonwealth has access to quality eye health services. The current forecast that the number of people who cannot see properly will triple by 2030 is something we cannot allow to happen given we know how to prevent it.”

In the Commonwealth, 85 million people are blind or have very poor vision.  As the population grows and ages, these numbers are set to rise sharply, meaning millions more people around the Commonwealth and across the world may experience social, educational and economic hardships as a result of poor eyesight.

In the open letter, the organisations behind Vision for the Commonwealth argue that while much has been achieved in improving eye health, particularly by the Commonwealth, the battle is far from being won. They urge that at the meeting, leaders build on the progress that has been achieved and commit to bringing eye care to everyone in the Commonwealth, with each country taking one significant action by 2020 towards that goal.

The letter says: “The tools are there. We know that they work. Now is the time to act.”

Read the full Vision for the Commonwealth open letter

The short video below calls for action to bring vision to everyone, everywhere.

85 million
people in the Commonwealth are blind or have poor vision

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