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The United Nations marks World Sight Day with first ever ‘blurred’ photo exhibition

Published: 09.10.2023
The United Nations marks World Sight Day with first ever ‘blurred’ photo exhibition

View 2030 IN SIGHT, the complete exhibition installed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

As the world prepares to mark World Sight Day, 12th October 2023, a photo exhibition displayed in the corridors of the United Nations headquarters in New York highlights that accessible, available, and affordable eye health is essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in strengthening the delivery of eye care within Universal Health Coverage, has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people globally. The exhibition titled, ‘2030 IN SIGHT’, presents the world through the eyes of those living with avoidable sight loss and invites individuals to consider the direct implications avoidable and treatable eye health conditions have on individuals, their communities, and on accelerating progress toward the SDGs.

Each image focuses on a different SDG that relates to eye health, with several of the images being ‘blurred’ to mirror how they would be viewed by people with treatable eye conditions, for example, untreated cataract, untreated glaucoma, or untreated myopia. The exhibition, supported by WHO, the UN Friends of Vision group and organised by IAPB will hang in the corridors of the UN from the 9th to the 20th of October – for ambassadors and diplomats to view and be inspired to include eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care as part of their country’s journey towards universal health coverage.

The exhibition follows a meeting of world leaders, including Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal, and Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, who were joined by Ministers of Health and Foreign Affairs from countries including Bangladesh, Portugal, Guyana, and Singapore. The meeting, held in the margins of the UN General Assembly and titled ‘The Value of Vision’, heard that unaddressed poor sight costs the global economy $411bn in lost productivity each year and impedes a states’ ability to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities.

This year’s World Sight Day focuses on ‘Love Your Eyes at Work’, a theme with a global concentration on eye health and the world of work. The exhibition at the UN references the theme, with two of the featured images focusing on SDG #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. The theme acts as an important reminder to all those focused on achieving the SDGs that quality eye care will improve workplace safety, productivity, and a person’s earning potential.

The exhibition serves as a crucial component in elevating awareness about eye health at the United Nations and echoes a recent call by 70 member states to the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy on Vision – to be a global champion, to mobilise action from international institutions and galvanise work happening at a national level.

Speaking about the exhibition H.E Ambassador Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and UN Friends of Vision Group Founder and Co-Chair said “2030 IN SIGHT, is a powerful interpretation of the central messages and recommendations in the UN resolution. The images allow us to see the world through someone else’s eyes and to consider the implications avoidable and treatable eye health conditions have for ending extreme poverty and hunger, accessing education and decent work, and reducing inequalities.”

Professor Jérôme Salomon, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage, Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases of the WHO said “This dynamic exhibition comes at a moment when the need for eye care is set to surge in the coming years. Without action, it is estimated that by 2050 half the global population could be living with a near or distance vision impairment. Every country must work towards universal eye health coverage, to meet the growing need, strengthen our health systems and reduce inequalities within and among countries.”

President of IAPB Caroline Casey concluded “2030 IN SIGHT is a photo exhibition that challenges viewers to consider the impact of eye health on development outcomes. The collection has been curated to highlight the critical need for available, accessible, and affordable eye health for all by 2030. It is a powerful interpretation of perspective by forcing the viewer to see the world through the eyes of someone impacted by preventable or treatable eye condition.”

View 2030 IN SIGHT