The first World Report on Vision by the World Health Organization (WHO) was launched at the National Eye Health Meeting in China on 21st August, hosted by the National Committee for Blindness Prevention (NLBLC).
The meeting, to be convened online, will also discuss the upcoming 14th Five Year Plan of national eye health in China. Coordinator, Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation World Health Organization Dr Alarcos Cieza, Amanda Davis, Chairperson of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) for Western Pacific, officials from Medical Administration Bureau of all Provincial Health Commission and major eye care professionals will attend the conference.
The report showed an aging population and sedentary lifestyle is leading to an increase in the number of people in the world who are blind. More than 2.2 billion people are visually impaired globally, and one billion have a condition that could have been prevented or has yet to be treated.
Global eye health development organization The Fred Hollows Foundation, which has contributed to the report as a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, welcomes the report launch in China.
The Foundation’s China Country Manager Amanda Huang said the launch shows the determination of the Chinese Government to improve eye health in the country, which is also closely tied to the future development of China.
China accounts for 20% of the world’s blind people, the highest number. The report shows blindness especially impacts on ethnic minorities, older people, women and low and middle income families.
Since China joined Vision 2020, an initiative launched to end avoidable blindness, the country has worked to significantly integrate eye health into national health planning, eliminated trachoma, an infectious eye disease, as a public health problem, and raised efforts in curbing increasing cases of myopia in the last decade.
Huang said: “The Fred Hollows Foundation strongly believes in a world in which nobody is needlessly blind or vision impaired.
“To work to address eye health issues raised by World Report on Vision, The Foundation and related eye health bodies in China, will continue to train the next generation of medical staff, fund and facilitate life-changing surgeries and treatments, strengthen health systems, engage and empower local communities on eye health care, and to invest in new technologies and pilot new approaches to deliver eye care more effectively. ”  
Believing in the importance of good eye sight as a way to alleviate poverty, The Fred Hollows Foundation commissioned a report which showed that for every $1 invested in ending avoidable blindness, it can create 4 times the economic and socio benefits to society.