Over the past decade, Dr Marcus Ang has made significant contributions to ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’ on three major fronts:
In Singapore, he initiated the Mobile Eye Clinic (MEC) supported by the Standard Chartered Bank ‘Seeing is Believing’ program. To date, the MEC program has provided free eye care to more than 3000 elderly beneficiaries with poor social support e.g. live alone in 1-room government rental housing. The project was developed to improve provision of primary eye care, medications, spectacles and if necessary, tertiary care such as cataract surgery. The project demonstrated a significant increase in appropriate and necessary clinical eye care (29% versus 63%, P<0.05) in the target elderly population. This project has been recognized by multiple local awards, and most recently he was honored by the ‘President of Singapore Volunteer and Philanthropy Award’ in 2017, the highest recognition for volunteer work in Singapore.
In Asia, he has contributed to prevention of blindness programs since 2006, as Founding Director of non-profit organization Global Clinic (www.global-clinic.org). Apart from developing sustainable eye care programs around Asia, Marcus also directly participates in projects that benefit the needy that cannot get medical care due to poverty or inaccessibility. Dr Ang goes on several trips a year – paid for out of his own pocket – to provide free primary eye care with provision of spectacles to tackle uncorrected refractive error; and cataract surgery which is the most cause of reversible blindness in Asia. To date, the program has examined and treated more than 10,000 patients in developing countries around Asia including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. In recognition of his contributions to prevention of blindness programs around Asia, he has been awarded the ‘Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award’ by the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.
Internationally, he has led efforts in advocating for a global collaborative effort in the prevention of Myopia – the most common uncorrected refractive error and cause of reversible visual impairment in the world. As Myopia is now recognized by the World Health Organisation as a growing and significant public health issue, he has helped organized two advocacy meetings hosted by SERI in 2018 and 2019 in conjunction with WHO/IAPB. This has led to a platform for increased international awareness about Myopia prevention strategies and a ‘call to action’ for collaboration in the worldwide fight against the increasing prevalence of Myopia.
In summary, Dr Marcus Ang has made extensive contributions to the Global Action Plan to target avoidable blindness such as uncorrected refractive error and cataract on various platforms, while developing local and regional programs to provide universal access to comprehensive eye care services. He is also actively participating in advocacy efforts particularly in the field of Myopia prevention, but also as an active Board member of Orbis Singapore and the IAPB.