All countries will experience the health impacts of climate change. Those already living in marginal conditions, or at higher risk of visual impairment, will be disproportionately impacted, with predicted increases in eye diseases and disruption of critical eye care services.
Climate action is a health issue
Image by Md Harun Or Rashid
Climate change is a health issue, not just an environmental issue. Across all indicators that track the impacts of climate change on human health, things are getting worse, including for vision and eye health. Deep-rooted inequalities, combined with extremely limited access to eye health services for marginalised populations most susceptible to vision impairment means that the resulting vulnerabilities put their vision, overall health and survival at greater risk. Climate change is predicted to increase the incidence of trachoma infections, cataracts, eye lesions, severe allergic eye diseases, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and eye injuries. Extreme weather events will lead to a disruption of critical eye care services such as cataract surgeries and refraction error services including the supply of medicines and glasses. The combination of predicted increases in eye disease together with the disruption of eye care services makes planetary health a key component to improving the quality of eye care.