(Press Release) NEW YORK – Optometry Giving Sight recently announced the launch of its “Our Children’s Vision” campaign at the Australian Consulate in New York.
This new global campaign has been initiated by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Vision for Life fund, created by Essilor. It 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.
Optometry Giving Sight is a partner in the campaign and will seek to mobilize support from the global optometric community.
“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,” says 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,” says Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, chairman of the Vision For Life fund and chief corporate mission officer at Essilor International.
Providing children with access to eyecare 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,” says 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 is working with CooperVision, VSP, Marchon, Essilor, Alcon and optometric network partners Vision Source, FYidoctors and Eye Recommend to support child and school eye health projects in India, Tanzania, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, South Africa, Mexico, Haiti and Australia. They hope more companies and individuals will add their financial and in-kind support to the campaign.
Other funding partners include 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 organizations have joined Our Children’s Vision.