The First UN Resolution on Avoidable Blindness Lays the Path for Genuine Action on Eye Health

The International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine joins the rest of the eye health community in congratulating the United Nations for approving the first resolution on preventable blindness. The resolution, which sets eye health goals for members to attain by 2030, was overwhelmingly accepted by all 193 countries in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today.

The resolution comes after the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health published its report in February 2021, which stated that there are 1.1 billion individuals globally who are blind due to preventable causes. It also demonstrated that increasing eye health is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs).

This latest resolution acknowledges the impact of poor eye health on a number of main SDGs, including poverty, employment, and sustainability, and demands for eye-care targets to be included in the SDGs themselves.

“Evidence has revealed that vision impairment has negative implications on health, welfare, and economic development,” stated Professor Matthew Burton, Director of the ICEH and co-chair of the Commission.

Despite the fact that present, very cost-effective therapies might prevent or correct 90% of vision loss, this is the case. This resolution acknowledges that improving eye health can help speed the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is a significant step forward. The latest agreement is essential for the hundreds of millions of people who are suffering from avoidable vision loss, laying the path for future eye health action.

According to the Commission’s research, vision loss costs the global economy $411 billion, a figure that this new resolution aims to reduce by encouraging international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted funding, particularly to help low- and middle-income countries combat preventable blindness.

The resolution also recognizes crucial issues relating to eye health, such as healthy ageing, disability, and gender equity, and calls on the UN to include eye health in all of its programmes, including those run by Unicef and UN Women.

Photo Credit: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2021/first-united-nations-resolution-tackle-preventable-sight-loss-passes