The universal eye health imperative for Canada: an inescapable reality of unmet need

Universal eye health is a component of universal health care, which World Health Organization Member States have supported in principle by endorsing the Global Action Plan on Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment (2014−2019). Much of the world's attention has focused on the needs of developing countries that suffer from significant gaps in effective and accessible eye care services, but similar inequalities in access exist in developed countries such as Canada.

Canada's health care system is based on the principle of universal health coverage; Yet, for the majority of the population, access to primary eye care services, such as eye exams and eyeglasses, is a direct expense. As a result, despite the global call for universal eye health, Canada has yet to make meaningful policy changes with respect to removing structural barriers to accessing eye care services in its health care system. This is despite active advocacy efforts by key stakeholder groups in eye health. As a result, there is an inevitable reality of unmet eye care needs that Canada must address in order to meet the World Health Organization's goals of universal eye health.

Publication date

March 4, 2020


Canadian Journal of Public Health


Diane Van Staden
Share this