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Optical Confederation calls on practitioners to act on eye health manifesto

News posted: 16/05/2014

The Optical Confederation has called on UK practitioners to ask local MEP candidates to sign the European Coalition for Vision’s Manifesto before polls open for the European Parliamentary Elections on 22 May.

The European Coalition for Vision (ECV) Manifesto promises support for eye health and vision throughout the five year term of the next European Parliament, including prioritising vision and eye health in public health strategies, ensuring fair and equitable access to eye care and promoting an inclusive society.

The UK is known for our strong support for eye health issues in Europe and the Optical Confederation member bodies are encouraging optometrists and dispensing opticians to make their voice heard. Members can help put pressure on local candidates to become ophthalmic public health champions both nationally and in Europe before the vote on Thursday 22 May.

The ECV exists to improve eye health in Europe, help prevent avoidable visual impairment and secure an equal and inclusive society for those with irreversible blindness or low vision. As a founding member of the ECV the Optical Confederation works closely with partners to push optics up the agenda in Europe and take the same coordinated message back to national decision-makers and health commissioners.

The Manifesto outlines that over 20 million people are suffering from serious vision impairment across Europe.  According to UK Vision Strategy this would include some 2 million people in the UK, a number which is expected to double by 2050.

Julie-Anne Little President of ECOO said “The European Coalition for Vision promotes eye health and vision, improves access to care and supports individuals with sight loss across Europe.  By signing the Manifesto, politicians are underlining their support for these goals and commit to working with us to achieve them through European legislation”.

David Hewlett from the Optical Confederation added, “European level advocacy complements our work to improve vision and eye health in the UK and this is an area where we must show leadership. We are very grateful to those candidates and MEPs who have already signed up and encourage all OC members to press candidates in their local area to back the ECV Manifesto”.