Optometrists worldwide are to be the targets of a major fundraising drive by the global blindness-prevention campaign, Vision 2020: The Right to Sight.
The fundraising and awareness-building campaign, coined Optometry Giving Sight, will try to persuade optometry businesses to become paying members of the scheme.
Optometry Giving Sight has been developed by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, the World Optometry Foundation and the International Centre for Eyecare Education.
The funds raised from membership fees will be used by the three agencies to deliver eye and vision care to help control the major causes of blindness, train more eye-care practitioners, and create an infrastructure for the delivery of eye-care services globally.
The UK is one of four pilot markets testing the campaign before a full global launch. All UK optometry practices will be asked to join.
Those that join will receive a certificate and advice on ways to promote their membership to patients and suppliers in their outlets - thereby signalling their determination to tackle blindness in the developing world. Additional support will be offered through newsletters, information packs, a helpdesk and a website. The more a practice donates to the campaign, the more support it will receive.
Bob Chappell, Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and chairman of the UK Optometry Giving Sight campaign, said: "There has been a history of the optometric and optical professions donating funds to eye-care charities where there was no return for their investment. Optometry Giving Sight offers a new opportunity where the fundraising will include support for optometric and optical vision charities."
Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, aims to help prevent an additional 100 million people losing their sight over the next 20 years by eliminating avoidable blindness.