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By Prof. Kovin Naidoo | On Wednesday 13th April 2016 | 0 Comments

6 yearold Ralph eye exam Haiti - Photo courtesy Cielo Pictures

Ten years ago, an estimated 19 million children worldwide suffered from serious vision problems such as near-sightedness, or myopia, the leading cause of distance vision impairment. Since then, this epidemic has grown even worse.

Severe myopia is a particular problem, increasing the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration — all of which can lead to irreversible vision loss. About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings, though developed countries are affected as well.

Yet most eye conditions in children can be prevented, treated and corrected. When it comes to reducing poverty for a child, the single most cost-effective healthcare intervention available is to improve his or her sight.

The extent to which uncorrected poor vision hurts children – psychologically, socially, educationally and economically – is often underappreciated and, worse, overlooked. The causes of long-term visual damage, once believed strictly genetic, are also based in lifestyle, culture and...

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By Jennifer Gersbeck | On Tuesday 12th April 2016 | 0 Comments

Jennifer Gersbeck and Bob McMullan

Last month Vision 2020 Australia hosted a Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care dinner in Canberra. This group commenced in 2007, providing an opportunity for our members to directly engage Federal parliamentarians and bring eye health and vision care issues to their attention. Over the past nine years, the Parliamentary Friends Group has flourished with strong engagement from a cross-section of Australian parliamentarians, their advisers and government officials.

At our most recent event we celebrated the successes of the Avoidable Blindness Initiative (ABI). Guests heard from IAPB President Bob McMullan and watched a video (produced in conjunction with our members) featuring eye health workers from Pakistan, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. The Australian Government’s Avoidable Blindness Initiative was also launched in 2009, with around $66 million in funding over six years. One of the key outcomes of the ABI was the formation of the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium, which has facilitated regional engagement in blindness prevention since 2010 through the coordinated efforts of its Australian members.

To showcase the results of the ABI and Global Consortium projects, guests read stories about the work of our member organisations in developing school health...

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By Alessandro Di Capua | On Friday 1st April 2016 | 1 Comment

Respondents from over 50 member organisations and partners took part to the survey we circulated earlier this year.

Member surveys are invaluable tools to ensure our activities and priorities are in tune with member needs, all the more important as we approach our next strategic planning cycle – so, first of all, let me say thank you to all those who took the time to give us their input and ideas.

It was good to see plenty of positive and constructive feedback and I was particularly heartened by noticing how responses were framed through a common vocabulary reflecting our key themes and values – ‘collaboration’, ‘advocacy’, ‘networking’ and ‘voice’ were by far the stand-out words.

Your understanding of our top priorities perfectly mirrors our current three strategic pillars: Advocacy, Knowledge and Partnerships - a good health-check for our collective sense of purpose.


Satisfaction rates on the quality and relevance of our online communication are also very high (and I can only hope this blog meet the standards!).



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By Priya Morjaria | On Wednesday 30th March 2016 | 0 Comments

Chittagong Eye Infirmary and Training Complex

On 23 March 2016, we celebrated World Optometry Day. "World what day?", I hear you say. Yes, you read correctly: World Optometry Day. Do not panic though if you did not send your Optometrist flowers!

Over the past 5 years I have had the pleasure of visiting or interacting with colleagues at different training institutions of Optometry; in the UK, Philippines, Malawi, India, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Ghana, Nepal, Kenya and Tanzania. One of the things that I have observed over these years is that there are many definitions for an optometrist (and I will be opening Pandora’s box with this discussion). The definition that is most familiar to me, as it is where I qualified, is from the College of Optometrists (UK).  ‘Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are primary health care specialists trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and problems with general health.’

Anecdotally, and with some statistics available through a google search (I list a few sites below), I can confidently say that there is an increasing number of females in the optometry profession. It was a pleasure to...

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