On June 10, 2020, Dr. Van Lansingh, HelpMeSee Chief Medical Officer, participated in a United Nations (UN) High-Level Political Forum virtual panel entitled “Vision for Everyone as a Catalyst for the Decade of Action.” The meeting was convened by the Friends of Vision of the UN. Topics covered focused on the means of including eye care as a human right in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and delivering eye care during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The moderator was Peter Holland, CEO of the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness. Panelists include Ciku Metenge from Orbis International, Silvio Mariotti from the World Health Organization, and Amanda Hwang from Fred Hollows.
According to Dr. Lansingh, even though the prevalence of blindness has decreased, the actual number of blind people is staggering due to the increasing world population. The October 2019 World Health Organization Report on Vision states that at least 2.2 billion people have a visual impairment. One billion of these are suffering from the preventable or treatable eye health issues of cataract blindness or uncorrected refractive errors.
In May, Dr. Lansingh was called to be part of an expert panel at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly. The goals of this initiative are to determine the indicators to measure a population’s uncorrected refractive errors and cataract prevalence and to set up a process for collecting data to track countries’ progress on addressing these issues.