GENEVA, Switzerland—The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has announced the event, “Universal Access to Glasses: Promoting Multisectoral Action,” which it is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and is being hosted by the governments of Nepal and Malaysia. Slated to convene tomorrow, May 30, at the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, this high-level event focusing on access to vision care will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (CET) at Four Seasons des Bergues Geneva. The event may also be livestreamed on the IAPB website here. In its announcement, the IAPB notes that more than 2.2 billion people live with some form of vision impairment, with approximately 1.1 billion being avoidable cases, and that uncorrected refractive errors, a common cause of vision loss, affect approximately 671 million people globally. The breakfast meeting aims to build upon positive momentum created by the landmark 2021 UN resolution “Vision for Everyone” and WHO guidance promoting integrated, people-centered eyecare, the organizers said. It will also address the WHA target for a 40 percentage point increase in effective refractive error coverage by 2030. Organizers of the event are calling on governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society to join forces and commit to achieving universal access to affordable and quality eyecare, including eyeglasses.

Commenting on the event Peter Holland, chief executive officer, IAPB said, “It is so important for us as a sector to galvanize support from member states, international organization like WHO and stakeholders from across the sector including business and NGOs to tackle this global health challenge, this is why it is so important to unite behind the same cause.”

Jennifer Gersbeck, executive director – global advocacy, The Fred Hollows Foundation, and moderator for the event, added, “With uncorrected refractive error expected to affect more than a third of the global population by 2030, we need to take urgent collective action now. This event will bring together experts from across different sectors to help us chart a way forward.”