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Children’s Vision Campaign Launches

A global campaign focussed on children’s vision has been initiated by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Vision for Life fund, created by Essilor. Our Children’s Vision Campaign seeks to bring together governments, development agencies, the private sector, eye health practitioners and communities with the goal of screening 50 million children worldwide for vision impairments by 2020 and creating access to appropriate services for those who need them.

The campaign was launched at the Australian Consulate in New York on 12 April at an event co-hosted by the campaign’s global partner, Optometry Giving Sight.

“All of us can appreciate the importance of good vision – not just for ourselves and our families, but for the many children around the world who don’t have access to the vision care services they need,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, Global Chair of Optometry Giving Sight. “After all, if you can’t see, you can’t learn, and that condemns many in the developing world to a life of poverty and disadvantage.”

Uncorrected vision can have a big impact on young people’s lives. “They can’t play outside safely, so they struggle to make friends. They can’t see the chalkboard, so they struggle to learn. They are hindered in every aspect of their life and it doesn’t stop at childhood,” said Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chairman of the Vision For Life fund and Chief Corporate Mission Officer at Essilor International.

Providing children with access to eye care is now more important than ever. Recent research from the Brien Holden Vision Institute indicates that by 2050 half of the world’s population – 4.76 billion people – will suffer from myopia and most of them will need eyeglasses.

“We are potentially facing the biggest public health challenge of our generation,” said Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute and Campaign Director for Our Children’s Vision. “This trend can be slowed down through preventative or corrective care, but only if a child is reached while their eyes are still developing. An effective eye health program in schools would have an unprecedented impact. Our Children’s Vision is a call to action – to come together to ensure that effective, inclusive, sustainable eye health solutions are available to every child everywhere.”

Optometry Giving Sight has worked with CooperVision, VSP, Marchon, Essilor, Alcon and its optometric network partners Eyecare Plus and Provision to support child and school eye health projects in Australia, India, Tanzania, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, South Africa, Mexico and Haiti. They hope more companies and individuals will add their financial and in kind support to the campaign.

Other funding partners include leading sunglasses brand Revo, through the ‘Buy Vision Give Sight’ initiative. The campaign is endorsed by the World Council of Optometry and the International Council of Ophthalmology. To date, 34 international and national organisations have joined Our Children’s Vision.
For more information visit [email protected] and ourchildrensvision.org