World Health Organization tackles eye care in monthly bulletin

A special edition of the WHO dispatch addresses The future of eye care in a changing world


The World Health Organization (WHO) has addressed eye health issues in its monthly bulletin.

The theme of its October edition is The future of eye care in a changing world.

Topics covered in the edition range from meeting the eye care needs of Australia’s indigenous people to implementing a diabetic retinopathy referral network in Peru and improving school eye care services in low and middle income countries.

In an editorial on the benefits of integrating eye care into health systems, the authors highlighted that globally 217 million people have a moderate to severe vision impairment, while 37 million are blind.

“As most vision impairment is avoidable, these estimates suggest that many eye care service needs are not being met, such as cataract surgery or the provision of spectacles to correct refractive error,” they wrote.

The authors outlined the impact of an ageing population on the demand for eye care services, and highlight the broad range of patients who require these services.

“People with eye care needs include those with health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which are often accompanied by vision-impairing complications and those who require systematic vision screening, such as infants and school-age children,” they elaborated.

Dry eye disease is given as an example of a condition that does not commonly lead to visual impairment, but can have painful and troublesome symptoms.

The authors emphasised the need to integrate eye care into the health system and into other sectors, such as education.

The full bulletin is published online