UNGA to help 1.1 bn people with preventable sight loss by 2030

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted its first-ever resolution on vision aimed at ensuring global access to eye care for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.

The resolution — ‘Vision for Everyone’ — was adopted by consensus on Friday and it recognised the impact of eye problems on the health and lives of those affected, from learning to earning.

The Assembly called upon its 193 member states to ensure access to eye care services. It also urged the member states to mobilise resources and support to reach at least 1.1 billion people by 2030, who have a vision impairment and currently lack access to eye care services.

Most of those affected by vision loss or impairment live in low and middle-income countries, and 55 per cent of blind people are women and girls, said Bangladesh’s UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima while introducing the resolution.

A whole-of-society approach is needed along with a paradigm shift to address poverty and inequality linked with vision loss, she added.

Further, the loss of vision is also connected to many other Sustainable Development Goals, from health to gender equality. Sight loss is also causing a $411 billion annual global loss of productivity, hence urgent action must enhance employment potential and education, the resolution said.

Eye care can be transformative, with a simple test or a pair of glasses making the difference for going to work or school.

“This resolution is a watershed moment,” Fatima said, urging the member states to send a strong message of hope to those in need.