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World Sight Day: An Opportunity to Refocus on Vision as a Global Priority

On October 8, the Vision Impact Institute will join many global vision organizations to emphasize the need for good vision in all communities and stages of life as part of World Sight Day. This year’s theme, Hope in Sight, is the perfect platform to create awareness about the importance of good vision as the world works to rebuild economies, societies, and education systems heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Prior to the pandemic, the need for greater access to good vision was already a topic of concern. According to the WHO World Report on Vision, at least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least one billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. While gains have been made over the years to ensure that more people who need glasses can access them, there is a danger that good vision could become less of a priority in a global health system that is already stretched paper thin.

It is our common, shared belief that hope is in sight – and that hope grows through partnerships and collaborations forged prior to, and especially during, the coronavirus pandemic.

“During a time of unprecedented global isolation, I’m inspired by the level of collaboration we continue to experience through partnerships that are mobilizing for vision care,” says Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute. “During this pandemic, we’ve recognized and joined with disparate groups coming together in a way that underscores the ever-increasing need to prioritize good vision.

For example, we’ve collaborated among groups like EYElliance, WHO and ATscale, including vision in non-traditional agendas, like assistive technologies and the disabilities agenda. We’ve also kept our collaboration with the Cooper Institute just as strong as we navigate the impacts of shifting learning environments on kids’ vision and fitness.”

And this is only the beginning. On World Sight Day, and indeed every day, there’s so much more that can and will be done as we move forward, making strides for the future of vision and its rightful place in the much larger public health framework – TOGETHER.