India Vision Institute in association with Mission for Vision, Sightsavers India and VisionSpring partnered for the second vision and road safety conference (VARS2.0) on February 2 in Delhi. The conference discussed strategies for reducing road traffic accidents by half by 2030, and highlighted the critical role of good vision in reducing road crashes and making roads safer. The partnerships have been forged following the recommendations by the Vision and Road Safety Taskforce coordinated by IVI in 2021 that led to organizing VARS 1.0 in February 2022.
Through keynote talks and panel discussions, VARS 2.0 discussed visual health status and its relationship with road traffic accidents, impacts and challenges of national vision screening initiatives for drivers, need for advocacy to highlight vision as a critical component in road safety, policy amendments needed to include vision in road safety policies, improving partnerships within eye care organisations, and better fund allocations to cater to the eye health needs.
Through their combined efforts to date, the four organisations have screened the vision of 1.35 million commercial vehicle drivers, helpers, cleaners, mechanics and other transport workers in India.
Conference Pledge: In a Joint Statement, Vinod Daniel, CEO, India Vision Institute, Elizabeth Kurian, CEO, Mission for Vision, R. N. Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers India and Anshu Taneja, Managing Director, VisionSpring, pledged to keep the initiative going by screening an additional 1 million commercial driving communities by 2025. The four organisations agreed to work with the government, corporations, civil society groups, corporate and philanthropic foundations to scale it across the length and breadth of Indian roads in order to contribute to the reduction of vision-related road accidents. The initiative will strengthen India’s commitment to increasing effective refractive error coverage and its vision of Universal Eye Health Coverage by reaching out to the commercial vehicle driving community.