In recognition of Earth Day, on 22 April 2021, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has declared a Climate Emergency and released a call to action for environmentally sustainable practices in the eye health sector.

The endorsement of a Climate Emergency was made by the IAPB board at a meeting on Monday and follows work by the IAPB Climate Action Working Group (CAWG). Alongside the call to action the group have also produced a Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Practices in the Eye Health SectorThe two key resources not only highlight the need for climate action within the eye health sector, but also show how the sector can take efforts to ‘Restore our Earth’ which is the theme of this year’s Earth Day. 

Marking the release of these two documents IAPB Chief Executive Officer, Peter Holland said “Globally we are seeing the devastating impacts of climate change on our environment and health. Eye health is being affected through increase in trachoma infections, vitamin A deficiencies, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, allergic and dry eye diseases.

“In addition to the effects of climate change on health, we recognise that healthcare is a massive consumer of resources and emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 4.4% of global emissions.

“Climate change disproportionately impacts poor, marginalised and disadvantaged populations and may exacerbate existing or create new inequities in eye health. The Lancet Global Commission on Global Eye Health has stated that environmentally responsible eye health services are essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals including SDG 13 on Climate Action.”

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