Skip to content

Eye Health and the Sustainable Development Goals

IAPB’s advocacy recognises eye health as both a health and development issue.

We actively promote the inclusion of eye health within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support the development of partnerships with sectors beyond health, such as education, gender and economic development.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to build a healthier world for the entire population and the environment by 2030. The 17 SDGs and 169 targets are integrated which mean they recognise that action in one area will affect outcomes in the others.

Vision makes an important contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and cuts across many of the Sustainable Development Goals; from poverty reduction to economic growth and employment, to education, gender and reducing inequalities.

It is therefore critical that countries adopt a whole-of-government approach to vision and include eye health in their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level.

Select the areas below to learn more about how eye health impacts the Sustainable Development Goals.

Improved vision enhances economic productivity, raises long-term household spending, increases household income and improves employment prospects. It has been shown that providing something as simple as a pair of glasses can improve work productivity by 22%. These economic benefits, particularly when delivered in low-resource areas, can be instrumental in reducing poverty, hunger and promoting growth.

Vision is key to ensuring good health and well-being. It helps sustain mental health and contributes to health targets on neglected tropical disease, financial protection and health workforce.

Vision plays a significant role in driving performance. Poor vision of drivers is one of the causes of many accidents, contributing to SDG target 3.6. to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

Vision is the single most effective health intervention for school children; giving a child a pair of properly prescribed glasses can improve attendance and performance at equivalent to half a year of schooling.

In 2019, The World Bank published a report ‘Looking ahead: visual impairment and school eye health programmes’ which concluded that, “Implementing school eye health programs at scale should be a priority for ensuring that education systems are inclusive”.

The burden of blindness and vision impairments is disproportionally concentrated among underserved and vulnerable populations, including women and girls, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations.

The rates of some vision impairments, such as cataract and trachomatous trichiasis, are higher among women, and women also experience additional barriers and poorer access to eye care interventions.

Read more

Photo Credits

Banner image: Peter Crosby