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Child Eye Health

Through our child eye health global initiative Our Children’s Vision we are upscaling, accelerating and expanding access to services in more locations to screen 50 million children by 2020

What motivates our focus on child eye health?

Left untreated in childhood, vision impairment can have long-lasting consequences including learning difficulties, reduced educational outcomes and employment opportunities and poor social interaction.

Myopia (short-sightedness) is the most common eye condition affecting children and is rapidly growing in prevalence across the world.1 In many developing communities eye care services do not exist or cannot be accessed.

The result is that 107 million people globally are vision impaired due to uncorrected distance refractive errors (the majority of which is myopia),2 simply because they do not have access to an eye examination and appropriate glasses.

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What global outcomes do we aim to achieve?

Our Child Eye Health programs aim to provide access to eye care for all the world’s children by:
  • Advocating for the need of child eye health services with peak international agencies, national governments and funding bodies.
  • Working with governments to integrate child eye health initiatives within existing health systems and school health programs and align them with education and social development services.
  • Conducting programs that train health care workers and teachers to conduct vision screenings; sourcing reliable supplies of affordable spectacles, conducting eye examinations and dispensing spectacles; training other levels of personnel to custom make glasses and administer vision centres.
  • Undertaking eye health awareness campaigns and working with and training children as agents for change in their local communities.

Through our child eye health global initiative Our Children’s Vision we are upscaling, accelerating and expanding access to eye health services to more children in more locations to screen 50 million children by 2020.

“Our child eye health programs address a desperate need and we know globally we face many social and economic challenges. In such a context of competing needs, it is critical that civil society, business and government work together to address children’s' needs since they are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society"

Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO

Global figures and statistics

  • An estimated 19 million children are vision impaired (12 million due to uncorrected refractive errors)4
  • 1.1 million children worldwide are irreversibly blind for the rest of their lives2,3
  • Up to 60% of children die within a year of going blind5
  • Global prevalence of childhood blindness may be as high as 1.5 per 1000 children5

References

  1. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, Jong M, Naidoo KS, Sankaridurg P, Wong TY, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S, Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050, Ophthalmology, May 2016 Volume 123, Issue 5, Pages 1036–1042.
  2. Bourne, R. R. et al. Causes of vision loss worldwide, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis. The Lancet Global Health (2013).
  3. World Health Organization. Visual impairment and blindness - Fact Sheet No. 282, (2012).
  4. Pascolini, D. & Mariotti, S. P. Global estimates of visual impairment: 2010. British Journal of Ophthalmology, doi:10.1136/
  5. World Health Organisation (2000) Preventing blindness in children. Report of a WHO/ IAPB scientific meeting. Geneva: WHO. (WHO/PBL/00.77).