I was delighted to speak at the recent India Vision Institute 4th Global Optometry Conference on the subject of Awareness and Advocacy in Eye Health. IAPB members know that eye health is a critical issue that affects billions of people around the world. However, it is often overlooked or misunderstood by decision-makers and the public. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness of eye health and advocate for change.
Awareness raising and advocacy are essential for improving eye health outcomes and are highlighted in the 2030 in Sight Strategy under the ‘Elevate’ and ‘Activate’ pillars. When people are aware of the importance of eye health and know what to do to protect their sight, they are more likely to take steps to do so.
In recent years with the Love Your Eyes campaign, IAPB has been taking a new approach to awareness raising and campaigning to influence the widest audiences possible. The campaign is designed to make eye health more accessible, available and affordable to everyone. We aim to use simple language and messaging that resonates with people from all walks of life.
The Love Your Eyes campaign has three key goals:
- To raise awareness of eye health around the world.
- To urge everyone, everywhere to take more responsibility for their own eye health.
- To be a unifier of all aspects of eye health.
The campaigning work of IAPB is based on the following Theory of Change:
- By raising the profile of vision and increasing demand, decision makers the world over have no option but to listen and prioritise eye health.
- That political and society pressure can be created through activations, stunts & PR like World Sight Day in order engage decision makers, mobilise the corporate sector and engage the public.
- We can do this by activated through petitions, events, lobbying etc. in order create the outcomes we need to achieve our strategy, including donors increasing financing, policy change by international institutions, governments integrating eye health into the universal healthcare systems etc.
On the 12th October, we will celebrate World Sight Day 2023 with our theme of Love Your Eyes at Work. This year, following the recent ILO & IAPB report on ‘Eye health and the Workplace’ and the ‘Investment in eye health to prevent sight loss’ released earlier in the year by Deliotte, IAPB & Roche the campaign focuses on the importance of eye health in the workplace. Telling employers, employers and everyone the world over that eye health is essential for productivity and safety, and it can have a significant impact on economic growth.
Every single one of us has a role to play in increasing awareness of eye health and advocating for change. This year why not:
By working together, we can create a world where everyone has accessible, available and affordable eye care by 2030.