International Agency for Prevention of Blindness Launches Its Vision Atlas at UN Friends of Vision Group Meeting Today

NEW YORK—The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) will officially launch its Vision Atlas at a meeting today of the United Nations Friends of Vision Group organized by the UN Ambassadors from Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh and Ireland and addressed by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, president of the UN General Assembly. The Vision Atlas contains important new estimates on the causes, magnitude and projections of vision loss from The Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG), as well as key evidence from the recently launched The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health.

VMAIL reported on the release of that landmark report last week.
The key messages from the Vision Atlas are:

• 1.1 billion people experience vision loss primarily because they do not have access to eyecare services.
• Over 90 percent of those with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries.
• Fifty-five percent of people with vision loss are women.
• The number of people with vision loss will rise from 1.1 billion to 1.7 billion people by 2050, mainly due to population growth and population ageing.
• Over 90 percent of vision loss could have been prevented.

Eyecare needs are expected to increase substantially; projections estimate half of the global population (4.8 billion) will need access to regular eyecare services to prevent and treat sight loss by 2050.

IAPB’s Vision Atlas is a wealth of information relevant to businesses, eye hospitals, research centers, universities, policy makers and NGOs. Given that so much of vision loss is a consequence of inequity and lack of access for the most disadvantaged members of our global community, the Vision Atlas is an important resource for those responsible for achieving universal health coverage and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2021 launch provides a rich mix of data, narratives and interactive presentation tools that make it easy to understand and present complex data sets which are accessible to a broad audiences.

Commenting on the launch of the Vison Atlas, IPeter Holland, IAPB CEO said, “IAPB is pleased to launch our Vision Atlas at a special meeting of the United Nations Friends of Vision Group. The new data contained in the Vision Atlas is an important tool for the sector both for advocacy, planning and academic purposes."

He added, "Action on vision loss is essential if the world is to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is our aim with the Vision Atlas that we can show in an accessible way the impact that good quality eyecare can have on people’s lives. For example, enabling children to benefit from education, helping working adults keep their jobs and ensuring older people can participate in their families and communities.”

As well as Ambassador Walton Webson of Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Rabab Fatima of Bangladesh and Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason of Ireland the meeting will hear from senior UN figures including Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, Stewart Simonson assistant director general, World Health Organization (WHO) and Beate Andrees, special representative to the UN and director of the International.

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is the overarching alliance for the global eyecare sector with 150 members worldwide drawn from NGOs and civil society, corporate organizations, professional bodies and research and eye care institutions. The Vision Atlas brings together data from the Vision Loss Expert Group, the WHO World Report on Vision, Country-level monitoring data and the The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health.

The Vision Atlas has been sponsored by Allergan an AbbVie company, Bayer, Seva Foundation, Sightsavers, CBM and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Registration details for the UN Friends of Vision meeting are posted here.