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Eye Health and Universal Health Coverage

Read more about the global commitments to eye health and Universal Health Coverage made at the United Nations and the World Health Assembly.

Strengthened health systems are essential to scaling-up eye health and reaching those most in need.

IAPB believes that advancing on eye health within universal health coverage (UHC) and strengthened health systems is essential to scaling-up eye health and reaching those most in need.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. UHC is a global priority for the WHO, and the linchpin of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO’s strategy for achieving UHC is to implement integrated people-centred health services. This means putting the comprehensive needs of people and communities, not only diseases, at the centre of health systems, and empowering people to have a more active role in their own health.

The WHO have made clear that Universal Health Coverage cannot be universal without affordable, accessible, high quality comprehensive eye care.

Global commitments to Eye Health and Universal Health Coverage

IAPB together with the United Nations Friends of Vision successfully advocated for the inclusion of eye health in the first Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. Heads of States Heads of State committed to strengthen efforts to address eye health conditions as part of UHC. This is an important milestone for the global eye health community as it recognises that UHC cannot be achieved without eye health.

The commitment was further strengthened by a World Health Assembly Resolution on Integrated People Centred Eye Care. The resolution requires all countries to make eye care an integral part of universal health coverage and to implement the recommendations of the World Report on Vision, specifically to integrate people centred eye care into their national health systems.

View the resolution here.

Two new ambitious eye health targets for 2030 were adopted at the 74th World Health Assembly. The targets address the two leading causes of blindness and vision impairment, cataract and refractive error and are a vital mechanism to monitor global progress on eye health and to hold governments accountable.

To address the huge unmet need in eye care, all countries have committed to:

  • 40% increase in effective coverage of refractive error by 2030
  • 30% increase in effective coverage of cataract surgery by 2030

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Banner: WHO
Health financing for universal coverage.


The core components of universal health coverage are often illustrated using a cube and are intrinsically linked to health financing; the inner cube reflects budget constraints.