Together…To See Further

Every week or so, I discover science press articles figures that measure the direct impacts of particular impairments on the economy of countries, even continents. Why not systematically include, in these measurements, the impact of poor vision on uncorrected populations? I often ask myself this question.

Recently, the representatives and experts of the World Health Organization (WHO ) in Europe have made interesting conclusions about the effects of people’s poor health in a crisis like the one we just experienced. They even created a website that combines the health systems of countries and the financial crisis we are/were experiencing. That’s an exciting new tool for all those who govern us and ensure the smooth running of our health systems, but it is also an essential meeting point for eyecare professionals, governments , mutual insurance companies and patients …

Why has the impact of poor vision of our citizens not (yet) found a place? The studies collected on the website of “Vision Impact Institute” clearly demonstrate, day after day, that uncorrected vision can lead, for example, in adults to a significant increase in symptoms of depression and discomfort in society (study of Pr Kempen in the Netherlands); or, as clearly stated by grey literature, that some children who are born with poor vision and are not corrected until adolescence do not succeed academically as well as a child who has no vision problem.

Perfect sight is no longer a luxury. Within a few years it has become essential to use screens either for work, play, communicating, learning, driving… For all these patients, we note that the corrected people achieve their tasks more quickly and easily, they have more control over the mechanisms of learning knowledge or they see well at night as during the day (which is crucial for driving a car). And that’s not counting the progressive isolation of those who have vision loss, just like hard of hearing people can curl up on themselves inside this confinement.

The annual European Health conference, held in late November in Vilnius (Lithuania), has put on the table how bad health systems have had an impact on the sustainable development of the economies of each country. But the impact of damaged vision has unfortunately not been addressed in this forum.

I appeal to researchers, practitioners, ophthalmologists, citizens, that we meet all our efforts so that low-vision will be eradicated. The path is long, but the Vision Impact Institute  brings all the necessary information together, so our policies are based on the right information.It is never too late, provided that individual efforts converge. The solution is simple, though, and holds a slogan : “Together to see further”.

Jean -Félix Biosse Duplan

President of Vision Impact Institute.