In October, many of us in the sector gathered in New York to celebrate World Sight Day and call for greater action on vision following the adoption of the landmark UN Resolution Vision for Everyone.
The UN Friends of Vision held their second eye health screening and exhibition at the UN Secretariat Lobby at UN Headquarters. The screening provided a focal point for the over 20 parliamentary World Sight Day screenings across the globe. It was a great opportunity to speak to influential decision makers about the importance of vision as a cross-cutting development issue. Over 300 people got their eyes tested including the President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Csaba Kőrösi, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, H.E. Rabab Fatima and Permanent Representative of Portugal, H.E. Ms. Ana Paula Baptista Grade Zacarias alongside UN security personnel, chefs and maintenance employees. Our huge thanks to OneSight and VisionSpring who delivered the screening and to the SUNY College of Optometry for providing a referral scheme for those who required further treatment.
The screening also included an eye health exhibition with resources on the links between vision and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Fred Hollows Foundation showcased their interactive ‘What does being blind or visually impaired look like?’ simulation. And the WHO launched its new Tobacco Knowledge Summary on Vision (see WHO Round-up above).
Following the UN vision screening, IAPB hosted the first ever Love Your Eyes: Voices event which brought together some of the world’s thought leaders, including those from the UN, governments, business and the eye health sector to share inspiration and celebrate the adoption of the historic General Assembly resolution 75/310 ‘Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals‘. Moderated by international broadcast journalist, Shakuntala Santhiran, the event included ted-style talks from Ambassador Walton Webson, Co-Chair and founder of the Friends of Vision; philanthropist James Chen; Caroline Casey, President of IAPB. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations gave the keynote address where she called on everyone to work together on World Sight Day.
Our events in New York were just a small part of the World Sight Day campaign this year which saw over 6.8 million pledges to Love Your Eyes!