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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3

VISION 2020: The right to sight

Correspondence Address:
G N Rao

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 11271931

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Keywords: Blindness, epidemiology, etiology, prevention & control, Child, Delivery of Health Care, trends, Humans, Incidence, Ophthalmology, methods, trends,

How to cite this article:
Rao G N. VISION 2020: The right to sight. Indian J Ophthalmol 2000;48:3

How to cite this URL:
Rao G N. VISION 2020: The right to sight. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2000 [cited 2023 Jun 10];48:3. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2000/48/1/3/14858

Every five seconds one person in our world goes blind; every minute, one child goes blind. A total of nearly 50 million persons are blind and another 150 million are victims of severe visual disability. Unless global efforts are significantly intensified, this number is projected to double by the year 2020. Fortunately, all major organizations involved in the prevention of blindness and delivery of eye care throughout the world have come together to launch a focussed and coordinated effort to address this avoidable tragedy. "The Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness by 2020" was launched in February 1999 from the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The programme is now named "VISION 2020: The Right to Sight".

Ninety percent of the world's blind live in developing countries and 80 percent of this blindness is avoidable - preventable or treatable. People who live in developing countries are 10 times more likely to go blind than people who live in highly industrialized nations. About 70 percent of all blindness worldwide is caused by Cataract, Childhood Eye Disease, Trachoma and Onchocerciasis. This programme focuses on the control of these major diseases and the development of an effective framework for the prevention of blindness after 2020 through human resource development and development of infrastructure and appropriate technology. In addition, emphasis is also laid on strategies to address the problem of Low Vision and uncorrected refractive errors. The rationale for the identification of the above diseases is that in combination, these are the major causes of blindness and the treatments available for the prevention and cure of blindness from these diseases are among the most successful and cost effective of all health interventions.

While the above priorities are for a global plan, regional and national plans are currently under formulation to identify targets, specific to different regions and countries. The implementation has to be at the local level for the programme to be effective. For the South East Asian region, in which India has the largest population, the targets include: increasing the number of cataract surgeries with improvement of quality of surgery, emphasizing all aspects of childhood blindness, and the development of low-vision programmes. India will also make significant contributions to human resource development in all categories of eye-care personnel since it has substantial training infrastructure.

The implementation of the programme at the global level will be through the collaborative effort of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and World Health Organization (WHO), together with many International Non-Governmental Development Organizations. In addition, UN agencies, governments, philanthropic institutions, individuals and corporations will also play a major role. The resources available for eye care will be significantly enhanced during this period and so will the strategies to utilize already available resources more effectively.

Blindness has profound human and socio-economic consequences in all societies. The costs of low productivity, rehabilitation and education of the blind are a significant economic burden, particularly in many developing countries. Furthermore, in such settings, blindness is often associated with lower life expectancy. Thus, the prevention and cure of blindness can provide enormous savings and facilitate social development.

The aim of VISION 2020 is to reduce the current projection of 75 million blind people by the year 2020 to a target of 25 million. To achieve this, all the stakeholders, particularly the ophthalmologists, must play a leadership role.

This article has been cited by
1 Barriers to accessing eye care services among visually impaired populations in rural Andhra Pradesh, South India
Kovai, V., Krishnaiah, S., Shamanna, B.R., Thomas, R., Rao, G.N.
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2007; 5(5): 365-371


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