The opportunity for international ophthalmology in treating blindness

Bruce Spivey, Alfred Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


As our worldview has become more pervasive, there has been a maturation of various international ophthalmological organizations. They have created several new initiatives that have the potential to dramatically affect preventable and treatable blindness, worldwide. The first international ophthalmological organization (the International Council of Ophthalmology, established in 1927) evolved from the longest continuously held medical meeting in the world (the International Congress of Ophthalmology, first held in 1857). Subsequently, a number of supranational and international organizations have been created, and these groups are beginning to communicate with each other and with national ophthalmological societies in joint planning. The international nongovernmental organizations, lay ophthalmic international organizations (eg, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness), and the World Health Organization have recently joined to create a proposal called Vision 2020: The Right to Sight. The International Council in partnership with Academia Ophthalmolgica Internationalis has created a parallel and complementary plan, Vision for the Future. The potential to alleviate or prevent blindness in over 150 million people requires our attention. Understanding the seemingly complex interrelationships of these many organizations-often unfamiliar to American ophthalmology-is important for the uniquely strong ophthalmic organizations in the United States. American involvement can make a difference. This presentation describes the background, relationships, and present plans, which, if implemented, will have a tremendous impact on treatable and preventable blindness and the level and quality of ophthalmic services throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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