We are now well into the year 2020, a milestone surging with significance for the world of eye health for many reasons. Eye health bodies the world over have begun 2020 with a resolve to promote vision care and to spread awareness on vision-related issues that the global population continues to face.
For instance, The American Optometry Association’s The Year of the Eye Exam campaign calls upon companies across the country to pledge to uphold the overall health and wellbeing of their employees by encouraging everyone to go for their annual, comprehensive eye examination. In a similar vein, Optometry Australia launched its 2020: The year of good vision for life campaign to underscore the importance of eye health management and the need for every Australian to make regular visits to the optometrist throughout their lives.
The growing global movement aimed at promoting eye health comes at a time when countries worldwide are having to shoulder the economic and social burden of tackling the major issue of vision loss. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been tirelessly working with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) since 1999 with the goal of achieving the former’s Global Action Plan target of reducing avoidable blindness by 25% by 2020.
Among the WHO’s priority eye conditions is myopia, and it is easy to understand why: uncorrected myopia contributes more than anything to avoidable vision loss. The good news is that myopia is reportedly among the most easily targeted by preventative interventions; doing so is projected to eliminate a whopping 70% of global vision loss.
Indeed, the year 2020 offers us renewed vigor in the journey to ameliorating eye health issues that plague us. Beyond that, we need to take stock of our efforts thus far to assess where we are as a global community with regards to eye health. While the progress that has been made in the last 30 years is indeed commendable, there is still so much to be done. The impact of the myopia crisis for one, seems to be gathering pace rather than being adequately tackled. One important reason for this is a lack of awareness – something various eye health bodies the world over are hoping to address with their ‘2020’ campaigns.
The time is now.
Plano prides itself on being at the forefront of tackling the myopia epidemic in 2020. We pledge to allocate significant resources to raise awareness about eye health in the community. We are thankful to be in a position where we are able to put eye health on the map especially in countries like Singapore where we are based and where the prevalence of myopia is significant.
As part of our 2020 campaign, we have already ramped up our efforts to close the loop for eye care service delivery in Singapore with our plano Eyecheck platform. In the last couple of months alone, hundreds of Singaporeans have signed up with the platform to book comprehensive eye checks with Plano’s trusted partner optometrists across the island for themselves and their loved ones.
2020 will also see us channel a significant amount of resources to stepping up our grassroots efforts specifically in raising awareness about eye health and myopia among working adults (plano@work) and school-going children (plano@school) in Singapore.
We must not lose sight of what matters.
In 1999, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight was launched. It sought to promote, “A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential.” As we approach the mid-February mark, I urge all of us in the eye health space to ask ourselves: Are we doing all that we can to achieve the shared vision of eradicating avoidable blindness and other vision issues? Until the status quo changes, and we fulfill the world’s right to good vision, we cannot rest and must continue to work together for a better future for the generations to come.