Impact Stories

Advocating for Better Vision: Lessons from the United Nations General Assembly

Published on Oct 6, 2023

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Anurag Hans, Head of Mission at EssilorLuxottica and President of the OneSightEssilorLuxottica Foundation, emphasized the importance of vision care and what it will take to solve the problem of poor vision.

Why vision care matters

Vision is a fundamental aspect of our lives, impacting our ability to learn, work, and lead fulfilling lives. Yet, 2.7 billion people around the world are currently living with uncorrected poor vision. This issue not only affects individuals’ safety, wellbeing, academic and professional opportunities, but also has far-reaching consequences for communities and economies.

It is important to put the spotlight on the impacts of uncorrected poor vision, which the Foundation continues to do at high-level events, such as those taking place with the United Nations General Assembly.

This year, Anurag Hans participated in the Devex@UNGA78 and Foreign Policy Health Forum events which brought together government, business and NGO leaders, health experts and academia to discuss critical issues shaping the world as we know it. Healthcare, and by that extension, vision care, was a priority agenda item for speakers and attendees alike.

During the Devex event, Anurag Hans and Dr. Bente Mikkelsen from the World Health Organization discussed the SPECS strategy, a game-changing approach that aims to tackle the global lack of access to spectacles, while providing high-quality vision care services to those in need.

By making spectacles and vision care services more accessible, the WHO SPECS strategy – partnered with an aligned sector - has the potential to improve educational outcomes, boost workforce productivity, and enhance overall quality of life for millions of people.

At the Foreign Policy event, Dr. Ciku Mathenge, representing the Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology, and Dr. Magda Robalo, from The Institute for Global Health and Development joined Anurag Hans to discuss the role of vision correction as a tool for social and economic development. Their conversation highlighted the positive impacts of vision care, beyond individual well-being.The panel focused on the need for trained personnel to deliver care as well as the need to further – which already are proving to be successful - to reach communities where health workercapacity is challenging and distance to care is prohibitive. They all agreed that the problem of poor vision is a solvable one that will create generational change without requiring a generation to create and implement a solution.

These discussions with thought leaders in the field of vision care are critical. 

Advocacy efforts at high-level events not only raise awareness but also foster collaboration among organizations, governments, and stakeholders in the industry. It is through such collaboration that we can implement the strategies and initiatives needed to eliminate poor vision in a generation, allowing us to achieve our Mission of helping people around the world see more and be more.

Watch the recordings of these insightful sessions here:

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