Comm Eye Health Vol. 12 No. 30 1999 pp 32. Published online 01 June 1999.

The global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness – VISION 2020: The Right to Sight

D D Murray McGavin MD FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth

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The Global Initiative – VISION 2020: The Right to Sight was officially launched on 18 February 1999 with the endorsement of Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, World Health Organization.

The mission of VISION 2020 is to eliminate the main causes of blindness in order to give all people of the world, particularly the millions of needlessly blind, the right to sight by the year 2020.

In the Journal of Community Eye Health, Volume 11, 1998, Dr Bjorn Thylefors, Director, Disability/Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, World Health Organization, described the main emphases of the Global Initiative and the significant cooperation with the Wask Force of the Partnership Committee of Collaborating Non-Governmental Organizations. Other authors who have written for us on the Global Initiative are Dr R Pararajasegaram, President, IAPB; Mr Richard B Porter, Executive Director, Sight Savers International and Rev Christian Garms, Executive Director, Christian Blind Mission International.

Priority needs focus on three broad categories:

  1. Disease Control: with emphasis on Cataract, Trachoma and the ‘SAFE’ strategy, Onchocerciasis, Childhood Blindness and Refractive Errors and Low Vision.
  2. Human Resource Development: stressing the primary health care approach and also the training of ophthalmologists, ophthalmic medical assistants, ophthalmic nurses and medical students.
  3. Infrastructure and Appropriate Technology Development: developing sustainability in the use of modern technology, provision of eye beds, local production of eye medicines, refraction capability with spectacles and low vision devices and required surgical instrumentation.

The Journal of Community Eye Health will continue to invite expert authors in these fields to write in future issues of the Journal.

The Sixth General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), in Beijing, China, 5-10 September 1999, will support and seek to develop further the programme of VISION 2020: the Right to Sight. For information on the IAPB Sixth General Assembly contact:

Dr Gullapalli N Rao,
L V Prasad Eye Institute,
Hyderabad 500 034, India.
Tel: 0091 40 215389/248267.
Fax: 0091 40 248271
E-mail: IAPB@LVPEYE.STPH.NET