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LEADING OFF: WHO Report Shows Significant Need for O.D.s

The inaugural World Report on Vision, by the World Health Organization (WHO), reveals a crucial need for optometrists. In acknowledging this need, Dr. Alarcos Cieza, the WHO’s coordinator for Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation, has challenged the optometric profession to help improve the access to and quality of vision care.

THE REPORT’S FINDINGS

Specifically, the report shows that among the 2.2 billion people in the world who have a vision problem, greater than 1 billion of them have a visual problem that could have been precluded.

Additionally, by 2050, myopia is expected to affect 50% of the world population, the report shows. Other findings include inequality of care among developed and developing countries, in both urban and rural areas, among young and aging populations and in wealthy and destitute populations, due to lack of access to care, lack of universal health care coverage, an absence of integration of vision care services into the health care system and, in several countries, an uncoordinated and unregulated labor pool.

THE CHALLENGE

On the heels of the report’s findings, Dr. Cieza gave an address, which occurred in Orlando, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the American Academy of Optometry’s (AAO) “Academy 2019” meeting. Tim McMahon, O.D., F.A.A.O., the AAO’s president-elect, and Scott Mundle, O.D., World Council of Optometry’s president, accepted the challenge, saying they’d discuss how they could address the findings and work collaboratively toward a solution.

For a full version of the World Report on Vision, visit https://bit.ly/2NUQr5x . OM