With favourably-priced spectacle lenses, proper training for eye care professionals, and the establishment of eye care centres, ZEISS plays an active role in providing access to eye care all over the world. In October 2013 the fourth eye care centre to be sponsored by ZEISS opened its doors in Paraguay’s capital city Asunción. ZEISS set up the facility in collaboration with the Christoffel Mission for the Blind (CBM), the Fundación Visión and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Following in the footsteps of similar centres in Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia, doctors in Asunción are trained to diagnose and treat eye diseases with leading-edge ZEISS products and technologies.
80 percent of the information we receive is obtained through our eyes. That's a crucial issue in a knowledge-based society. Good vision is also a key factor in people’s professional development and economic success. That may sound like an odd connection to make, but the fact is that good vision correction can enable people to work longer and earn money. And in poorer countries it's particularly critical because it ultimately means children get to attend school instead of having to work and earn money for their family.
By supporting the VISION 2020 initiative, ZEISS is aiming to conquer preventable blindness worldwide by 2020.
The company’s commitment to this cause began in 2002 when ZEISS became the first corporate sponsor of the "VISION 2020: The Right to Sight" campaign. VISION 2020 is a worldwide program that aims to eliminate preventable blindness. It is led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and is supported by various non-governmental organizations. Together, the participating organizations and institutions hope to give people suffering from preventable or curable blindness a “right to sight.”
Something as simple as a pair of well-fitted spectacles can alleviate all sorts of visual impairments and make people’s everyday lives easier. This can be achieved with standard lenses costing just a few dollars – a price that many people can afford. The biggest challenge is that there are simply not enough opticians who are qualified to fit spectacles. With its eLearning courses on refraction and vision correction and online knowledge databases, ZEISS is striving to facilitate access to key information in countries that offer very limited training opportunities to optometrists and opticians.
An equally important aspect of preventing blindness is providing people in all regions of the world with access to good eye care. The diagnosis, therapy and training centres which ZEISS sponsors as part of the VISION 2020 initiative make an important contribution in this respect.
In 2013, the fourth of these diagnostic, treatment and training centres for eye care opened its doors in the Paraguayan capital Asunción. The IAPB Centre of Excellence Latin America, which is sponsored by ZEISS, trains doctors in how to use modern equipment and apply the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating eye diseases. It places a particular emphasis on cataracts and glaucoma, two of the most common causes of preventable blindness.
These centres enable local people to benefit directly from the latest innovations in ophthalmology. For example, they provide training on how to diagnose and treat glaucoma at a very early stage before damage to the optic nerve has occurred. And they provide access to the latest techniques for identifying the most frequent cause of blindness worldwide – cataracts – which can then be treated using modern methods of cataract surgery. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that impairs vision.
*Source: D. Pascolini, S.P. Mariotti, “Global estimates of visual impairment”, Br. J. Ophthalmol. 96, 614 - 618 (2012).