WHO Vision 2020: Have We Done It?
The Vision 2020: The Right to Sight initiative, launched in 1999 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), was aimed at eliminating major causes of avoidable blindness globally. Around 80% of blindness cases in 1990 were considered avoidable, primarily due to conditions like cataract, uncorrected refractive errors, trachoma, onchocerciasis, and childhood blindness. The initiative played a crucial role in raising awareness about avoidable blindness and putting it on the global health agenda. While Vision 2020 made significant strides, challenges remain. Impaired vision and eye health have far-reaching impacts on individuals and societies, affecting employment, education, and overall well-being. By 2020, the number of individuals with blindness was projected to reach 76 million due to an aging population, highlighting the urgency of the initiative. Despite achievements in raising funding, advocacy, and reducing age-related blindness rates, the growing population and demographic shifts pose significant challenges. The text underscores the need for continued efforts, increased education, better reporting of outcomes, and a focus on regions with minimal resources to address avoidable blindness effectively. The recent COVID-19 pandemic may also impact progress in eliminating avoidable blindness, further emphasizing the importance of sustained efforts in eye care.