World Health Day: Focus on Eye Health

06 April 23

written by:

Sarah Kidner

(more articles)

Exploring the global state of eye health for World Health Day 2023. We have listed 8 ways we are working to save sight and change lives.

Exploring the global state of eye health: World Health Day 2023

Today is World Health Day and marks the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 1948, countries worldwide united to found WHO. Its aim is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere, can attain the highest level of health and well-being.

Its cause is an admirable one.

What is the global state of eye health?

According to figures from WHO, globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a near or distance vision impairment. In at least 1 billion – or almost half – of these cases, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

WHO also points to “substantial variation in the causes between and within countries according to the availability of eye care services, their affordability, and the eye care literacy of the population.”

Access to ophthalmology services can prevent sight loss.

UK skills shortage

Yet, in the UK, there is currently a shortage of NHS appointments and skilled ophthalmologists – as we recently reported.

Population growth and ageing will increase the risk that more people acquire vision impairment.

According to WHO, the leading causes of vision impairment are:

Fight for Sight, and Vision Foundation are working to tackle sight loss by funding research and delivering social impact.

Together we are working to save sight and change lives.

Eye Health Matters

On World Health Day, we’ve listed 8 examples of some of the ways we’re doing it.

1. Early career funding

Scientific breakthroughs are only possible if you have great scientists. We are committed to funding people at the early stages of their careers and encouraging them in the field of sight loss research.

For example, an early career investigator award from Fight for Sight helped to fund Dr Nina Milosavljevic to successfully make the transition to becoming an independent researcher at the University of Manchester.

We have also granted early career awards in partnership with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) to enable clinicians to gain vital research experience.

2. Information and support

Every six minutes, someone is told they are going blind. There are multiple conditions that can cause sight loss, and following a diagnosis, many want to know more about the condition. Family and friends offering support may also want to know more.

Our A to Z of Eye Conditions and Diseases explains more.

3. Vital awareness raising

The Unseen report commissioned by Vision Foundation helps to address the gap in research on domestic abuse among blind and partially sighted people. It reported on the prevalence, the unique experiences of visually impaired victims and survivors and the barriers to support.

Donate Now

4. Backing breakthroughs in scientific research

We know that research can unlock solutions and transform lives, and we’re funding over 100 projects across the UK. With donations and support, we have already backed breakthroughs in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma, inherited eye diseases, sight loss linked to other conditions and more.

5. Policy, influencing and awareness raising

In partnership with others, we are calling for action from parliamentarians and policymakers to prevent avoidable sight loss as a member of The Eyes Have It. Find out more about our Chief Executive’s passion for positive changes as he interviews Louisa Wickham, the National Clinical Director for Eye Care.

We also support projects which raise public awareness about the importance of sight tests, particularly among at-risk communities and improve access to sight tests, including adapted tests and community-based testing.

6. Fundraising for change

There are many fun and varied ways that you can fundraise for us, from small acts to community and other events.

7. Community shops

We have a range of shop where you can discover treasures from women’s clothing to furniture, books and more. We also have an online shop on eBay where you can buy from us. Every purchase helps transform the lives of people facing or living with sight loss by funding projects that inform, empower, and include.

Find out more

8. Working with volunteers

We can’t do our work alone. As well as working in partnership with other organisations, volunteers provide vital skills and support. There are multiple ways that you can volunteer with us.

Find out more about volunteering

This isn’t an exhaustive list but just some of the ways we are working to save sight and change lives.


Please donate and support our work if you can.