NEW YORK—It was a momentous 2022 World Sight Day. The United Nations, through a series of special events, meetings and statements reinforced adequate vision care as one of its Sustainable Development Goals. The World Health Organization's (WHO) just-released new baseline report detailed how effective coverage of eyecare and refractive services could be measured for the 2030 timeline. Major philanthropiy commitments and many collaborating vision care organizations continued to usher in new achievements. Leading eyecare and eyewear companies, thousands of private ECPs and millions of individuals contributed time, dollars and support to the IAPB's #LoveYourEyes campaign, underscoring World Sight Day initiatives spanning the globe.

This year's #LoveYourEyes 6.8 million pledges broke records, and helped usher in a new era of awareness of the need for vision care access, solutions for uncorrected refractive error and elevating the cause of connecting eyecare and eye health to productivity, economic gains and learning.

A new WHO report released last week presents estimates for effective coverage of refractive errors and cataract surgery which is is fundamental to increase global eyecare coverage in the future while delivering quality services. The Report of the 2030 targets effective coverage of eyecare services and serves as a reference point for UN Member States to commence monitoring progress towards the 2030 global targets.

The Report also serves to highlight key gaps in current data and presents suggestions for additional efforts required to advance surveillance, policies and programs for increasing the coverage of eyecare interventions. The report was launched at an event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, attended by ambassadors, policy and decision makers, WHO representatives, civil society and other organizations in the eyecare sector.

WHO said that interventions that address the needs associated with uncorrected refractive error and unoperated cataract—the two leading causes of vision impairment globally—are among the most cost–effective of all health care interventions to implement. Given the large unmet need for care, the Seventy-Fourth World Health Assembly in May 2021 endorsed two new global eyecare targets for 2030—namely, a 40 percent increase in effective coverage of refractive errors, and a 30 percent increase in effective coverage of cataract surgery.

VMAIL has reported on just some of additional activities and participation in the 2022 World Sight Day activities, including major meetings at the United Nations in New York City, on-site screening there (and in major cities around the world), comments of key UN officials, and the presence of involved NGOs, organizations and retail groups, to strengthen their collaborations. VMAIL also reported on a major $15 million philanthropic gift to VisionSpring from MacKensie Scott and that organization's own "Livelihood in Focus" initiative.

At a special IAPB Japan Society reception in New York, Love Your Eyes Voices in New York brought together some of the world’s thought leaders, including those from the UN, governments, business and the eye health sector, to share inspiration and celebrate the historic UN Resolution on Vision. World Sight Day, Caroline Casey, IAPB president said, "At a time when global issues seem insurmountable, the huge momentum building around this year's World Sight Day is evidence that collective action drives change and of the enormous work going on to deliver accessible, available and affordable eyecare for all. Ending avoidable sight loss is possible, and it is essential."

Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador, Walton Webson, is chair of the UN Friends of Vision Group, more than 50 UN member states. He said, “World Sight Day is such an important moment to raise awareness of an issue that affects over a billion people but can be solved this decade. We know that 90 percent of sight loss is preventable or treatable, yet millions of people are without care because they cannot afford or access it.”

At the event, James Chen, a long time leading philanthropist for eye health and eyecare access causes and organizations, ambassador for #LoveYourEyes, told the distinguished audience that focused commitments to elevating understanding and access to eyecare is a "moonshot attempt" that can accomplish a great deal to "socialize our successes' in this arena.

The IAPB #LoveYourEyes Photo Competition is still accepting submissions from anyone in several categories until Oct. 20 at which time determinations will be made for the competition's finalists and then ultimately winners in all categories.