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2020 Mid-Year Update

At the Vision Impact Institute, we remain committed to raising awareness of the lifelong benefits of good vision and advocating for vision’s rightful place on the global agenda. With this in mind, we have taken steps to adjust during this unprecedented time and are excited that so many of you have joined us.

Our mid-year update highlights the ways that we continue to influence the global discussion around good vision.

Click below to read more in each section:

  1. Awareness: Inserting  Vision Into Today’s Dialogue

  2. Advocacy: Influencing the Landscape for Change

  3. Research: Expanding Our Database of Studies

  4. Connections: Reaching Eye Care Advocates in New Ways

Since March, we have examined how the coronavirus pandemic affects the vision agenda in a variety of ways. Here are a few posts that you may have missed:

  1. The Future of Vision Care Will Require Reinvention – A discussion of the need to significantly broaden the definition of access when it comes to good vision.

  2. Lack of Awareness and Access Present Barriers to Good Vision for Women – A continuation of our discussion on access to vision care, VII Advisory Board member Clare Gilbert addresses in a two-part series the reasons why women and girls still lack access to good vision care.

  3. Protecting the Eyes of Health Workers is Key to Protecting Lives – A practical answer to this question: “How do we keep today’s healthcare workers safe by protecting their eyes?”

  4. Today’s New Normal Can Shape a Child’s Tomorrow – When school learning moved online for many, children experienced so many changes to learning. In this blog, we share practical tips on how to protect kids’ vision and overall health when their lives increasingly revolve around digital screens.

Today’s socially distanced climate required us to modify how we connect with other vision advocates – but our why remains the same. Here are a few ways we are uniting with others to include the topic of good vision into existing conversations and solidify relationships globally:

United States: Connecting with Legislators

Our team continues to advocate for eye exams for children before they start school. We’re working with legislators in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and with partners such as the Maryland and Pennsylvania Optometric Associations. Through these connections, we’re learning the power of partnerships in ensuring that children have the best vision to have the best chance at getting a quality education.

Mexico: Empowering Future Vision Leaders

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to empower young vision advocates, university students and key opinion leaders through a presentation at the AMFECCO Conference in Mexico. This audience is important, as they will be the providers of vision care access to future populations of the region.

Europe: Aligning Efforts with Like-Minded Organizations

In Europe, we’re involved in several discussions on projects with the European Coalition for Vision, a diverse group of organizations and associations focused on eye health. These projects include working with Members of the European Parliament to prioritize eye health in nationwide regulations and advocating with Parliamentary Disability Intergroup members.

Earlier this year, we reached a significant research milestone. Our curated database now includes 500+ research reports and studies on the global impact of poor vision on education, productivity, road safety, and women and girls. Here are a few of our most popular research reads this year:

1.   The WHO’s World Report on Vision – This report highlights the need for integrated, people-centered eye care to meet the challenges of poor vision around the world.

2.   Near Vision Correction and Work Productivity Among Textile Workers – In this study, researchers highlight how near vision correction can impact the productivity of clothing factory workers and others who make a living by needing to see up close.

3.   Access to Eye Care Services for Children Within the Education Sector – This systematic review focuses on the factors that impact children in accessing eye health services in schools in low-and-middle-income countries. It also provides recommendations for greater access.

4.   The Price of Exclusion: Disability and Education Looking Ahead – Visual Impairment and School Eye Health Programs – The series documents gaps in education outcomes between children with and without disabilities, including examples of programs and policies on how to improve inclusion in education systems.

5.   Status of Road Safety in the Region of the Americas – While this report doesn’t focus on vision per se, it’s an important way to learn about the issue of Road Safety in Latin America, and it provides impetus for the inclusion of vision in the global road safety discussion.

In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Essilor International, we held three webinars for eyecare professionals (ECPs) from The African Council of Optometry (AFCO), the Indian Optometric Association (IAO), and the Eastern Mediterranean Council of Optometry (EMCO).

With more than 300 ECPs in attendance, the webinars served as a platform for discussion about the importance of the WHO’s recently released “World Report on Vision”, and Essilor’s report on “Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation.” The goal was to educate ECPs and help them translate the findings of these reports into their local work as they advocate for good vision for their patients.

We will hold additional webinars on varying topics for ECPs in other parts of the world during the next couple of months. Watch our latest vision webinar with The Eastern Mediterranean Council of Optometry on YouTube.

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