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  • Focus on 2030 in Sight

    By Jessica Thompson

    Over the last few decades, the global eye care sector, ophthalmologists, optometrists, civil society and private sector actors have worked hard to improve global eye health. 

    We’ve made great strides. Over 90 million people have been treated since 1990, and river blindness and trachoma are steadily being eliminated. Yet, eye care remains under-resourced and unaffordable for too many people. More than 1 billion people worldwide suffer the consequences of sight loss simply because they don’t have access to basic eye care.

    To address this challenge, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) launched a new strategy, 2030 in Sight. Its mission is to create a world where everyone everywhere has access to good quality eye health services, to prioritize preventable sight loss and remove barriers that prevent the full participation of people with permanent visual impairment. It’s an ambitious strategy, but one as a sector we are well-placed to achieve together.

    What is 2030 in Sight?

    2030 in Sight builds on the great work that has already been done and incorporates in one place the recent developments in eye health including the World Health Organization World Report on Vision, The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 75/310 “Vision for Everyone: Accelerating Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” The 2030 in Sight strategy offers a new approach for eye health aligned with the sustainable development goals and UN’s principle of leave no one behind. 

    What Do We Need to Do?

    2030 in Sight has three strategic actions for those working in global eye care: elevate, integrate and activate. 

    First, we must elevate eye health as a fundamental economic, social and development issue. We need to make the case to policy makers and funders that eye health is a route out of poverty and into education, productive work and to reducing global inequalities. 

    Second, eye health must be integrated within wider health care and as part of universal health coverage. Adopting the WHO’s Integrated People-Centered Eye Care (IPEC) framework will help to meet the growing demand in eye health, taking resources closer to the patient and enabling eye care to be delivered by a larger, broader eye health workforce. 

    Finally, we must activate consumer change by raising public demand to ensure markets are responsive, remove barriers to care and make services available and affordable.

    What Makes 2030 in Sight Different?

    To achieve our ambition, we will have to work differently. We have learned from “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight” what a force the sector can be when it strives together for a common goal. Now we have the opportunity to have our voices heard outside the eye health sector and use our collective strength to persuade those in health policy, business and education as well as the public of the importance of vision and eye health. New forms of leadership and partnerships will help ensure eye care is not siloed and that we work with others to achieve the sustainable development goals across the board.

    How Do We Implement 2030 in Sight?

    Implementation is the responsibility of everyone and will require a collective effort across the sector and beyond. Success will only be possible with collaboration — with individual governments and global organizations like the World Health Organization and development institutions, as well as between eye care organizations and beyond. Local ownership of 2030 in Sight is critical. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 2030 in Sight needs local leaders to drive forward this agenda and develop their own plans to suit their national situation and priorities. 

    What Is IAPB and How Can You Get Involved?

    As the voice of global eye health, IAPB brings together almost 200 eye health organizations in 100 countries, with a collective mission to end avoidable sight loss and improve eye health worldwide. Our network consists of eye health professionals, civil society and private sector organizations, universities and academic institutions. IAPB is recognized as a global leader in eye health advocacy, coordinating major campaigns, global policy initiatives and developing global strategies to unify and advance the sector’s work. Membership with IAPB allows you to play an integral part in a powerful, unprecedented alliance.

    Jessica Thompson About the author: Jessica Thompson is director of policy, strategy and advocacy at IAPB, the overarching alliance for the global eye health sector. She overseas IAPB’s major policy and advocacy initiatives and is responsible for the implementation of 2030 in Sight, a strategic plan for the next decade to prevent vision loss around the world.