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June 6, 2022 marks China’s 27th “National Eye Care Day”, a day designated for advocating the importance of eye health and promoting eye care awareness of the general public since 1996. This year’s theme is “prioritize universal eye health and jointly build general health”, focusing on the two key population groups, children and adolescents and the elderly, and major eye diseases such as myopia and other refractive errors, cataracts, fundus diseases, glaucoma, and corneal blindness. In addition, the activities aim to advocate the concept that “everyone is the primary person responsible for their own eye health”.
Over the past 3 decades, the age-standardized prevalence of blindness has reduced by nearly a quarter. Accordingly, the eye health policy in China has taken an important turn, with the focus of work shifting from blindness prevention to eye health promotion, which also could be reflected by the change in the name of the national plan, from “national plan for blindness prevention and treatment” to “national plan for eye health” in 2016. With the shift in the work focus, the concept of “public health ophthalmology” was brought up and the first national-level academic organization on public health ophthalmology, the Chinese Society of Public Health Ophthalmology (Chinese Preventive Medicine Association), was officially founded in 2018.
In order to enable policy-makers, public health personnel, ophthalmologists, primary health workers, and non-health professionals to have a better and comprehensive understanding of the concept of public health ophthalmology, on this year’s “National Eye Care Day”, the first Chinese monograph on “public health ophthalmology” will be launched. The preparation of the work was led by me, the President of the Chinese Society of Public Health Ophthalmology, Prof. Ningli Wang, and the content was developed by personnel across various eye health sectors, including clinicians, eye health management personnel, researchers, statisticians, and public health experts. In the context of accelerated population aging and changes in people’s lifestyles, eye health issues need to be addressed at the national level from a public health perspective, and the launch of the book aims to generate a boost to the work.
Image on top: Eye screening for migrant kids–eye care for every kid in need/Cathy