Vision Aid Overseas supports the plea for glasses in the Commonwealth 

Ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGHM) in London this week 18 – 20 April, Vision Aid Overseas is supporting the Clearly appeal to the Heads of Government in the Commonwealth to make eye care accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Founded by James Chen, Clearly is a global campaign to enable access to glasses for everyone in the world.  Speaking at the Global Citizen Live concert on Tuesday 17th April in Brixton, London, Mr Chen told us:

Clearly has a very simple goal; Elon Musk wants to put a human on mars in the next few years, when that happens, we want everyone on earth to be able to see it.

Vision Aid Overseas, Clearly and other eye care INGOs are calling on all Commonwealth leaders to make a commitment to ensure that everyone in the 53 nations in the Commonwealth has access to affordable and quality eye care services and glasses. Lack of access to eye care services and glasses costs the global economy $200 billion every year in lost productivity.


Vogue model Adwoa Aboah added:

We’ve heard tonight about the amazing progress made on polio and other deadly diseases but it’s mad to think that a third of the world’s population including 900 million people in the Commonwealth cannot see clearly because they don’t have a simple pair of glasses. Tonight, we want to send a message to the Commonwealth leaders, we want them to take action and commit to bringing clear vision to everyone, everywhere.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting brings together leaders from all the member countries of the Commonwealth to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree on how to work to create a better future for all Commonwealth citizens, especially young people.



Speaking on the important link between eye health and achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, His Excellency Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told us:

It is impossible to imagine how we can deliver the Sustainable Development Goals if people cannot see clearly. How can children make the best of themselves at school if they cannot see the blackboard? How can workers remain productive as their eyesight deteriorates?  How can we achieve gender equality when we know that women and girls are more likely to face vision issues and less likely to get treatment? This week Antigua and Bermuda is leading efforts to ensure the Commonwealth summit results in a commitment for all 53 nations to create a world where every person can see clearly through universal quality eye care. In the years ahead, I will personally advocate for clear vision on a global scale and calling on all the nations to champion this issue to both the Commonwealth and the United Nations by recognising that clear vision is an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Reducing visual impairment is not only seen widely as an accelerator to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, such as eliminating poverty, improving health and wellbeing, improving education and reducing inequalities, it is also essential in ensuring that no one is left behind.

His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana continued:

My government has introduced a programme of early identification of school children with poor vision, which will be rolled out nationally from now until 2021. This will allow Botswana to become the first country in the world to correct the vision of an entire generation of school children. 

We know that when eye care is made accessible, children are more likely to reach their potential in school, achieve a better education, and ultimately, start a career when they leave school. You can help make a difference by joining us today in a movement towards a world where everyone, everywhere has access to clear vision.