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A Vision for Workplace Wellness: ILO Nepal Staff Receive First-Ever Workplace Eye Screening

Published: 03.06.2024

In a first of its type event, the International Labour Organization (ILO) partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and Nepal Eye Hospital to conduct the first-ever workplace eye screening at the ILO’s Kathmandu office on May 8, 2024. 

This landmark event follows the release of the ILO’s report, ”Eye Health and the World of Work,” last year, which highlighted the alarming impact of poor vision on workers’ productivity and safety. With an estimated 3.5 million eye injuries occurring in workplaces annually, the report underscored the need for proactive eye health programs. 

Fifty-eight staff members and their families received comprehensive eye exams, including visual acuity assessments, colour vision tests, refractions, and retinal examinations. The screening uncovered a range of conditions, from refractive errors to dry eye and even a case of glaucoma. Thanks to the generosity of the Nepal Eye Hospital, twenty pairs of presbyopia glasses were provided to support staff. 

The event was hailed a success by both the ILO and the IAPB. 

“It is so important to hold events like this for our colleagues’ own eye health and to create wider awareness, and to undertake similar health promotion events within the ILO offices,” said Dr. Hayford Etteh, ILO Medical Adviser. 

Numan Özcan, Country Director of the ILO Country Office for Nepal, echoed this sentiment, describing the event as a “very successful exercise” and expressing his appreciation to the “professional and well-equipped team of doctors, nurses, and support staff.” 

Jessica Thompson, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Strategy at IAPB, emphasized the significance of the ILO report and the continued collaboration between the two organizations. ”The ILO report was a wake-up call for the global community, highlighting the critical importance of eye health in the workplace,” she said. ”We’re thrilled to be continuing our partnership with the ILO through this screening and our ongoing ‘Love Your Eyes at Work’ campaign.” 

Yuddha Sapkota, Head of the Region – South East Asia at IAPB, expressed his pride in hosting the first of these screenings in Nepal. ”We are honoured to have partnered with the ILO and our esteemed member, Nepal Eye Hospital, to bring this vital service to the workplace,” he said. ”This is just the beginning of our efforts to ensure that everyone has access to the eye care they need to thrive in the workplace and beyond.” 

This initiative serves as a model for other organisations and countries to prioritise eye health in the workplace. By investing in preventative care and raising awareness of the importance of vision, we can create safer, healthier, and more productive work environments for all.