Healthcare has always been an issue that is devolved to the national level across Europe. But prevention and harmonisation of action are two key areas that we can and do call on European politicians to think about and act on.

We are faced with an ageing population in many parts of the world and particularly in Europe, increasing levels of myopia among the urban young, and large populations without access to elementary forms of eye care. These global challenges require global solutions. To achieve this, each World Health Organization region must play its part.

In our modern, tech-focused, high-speed lives good vision is imperative at all ages. In Europe, despite the fact that most people say sight is the sense they most fear losing, we still have a lack of public knowledge about eye health, vision and how to prevent impairment.

Eye diseases are ‘hidden diseases’ and, unless people have regular eye examinations, they only manifest themselves to the sufferer at advanced stages. Low levels of access to services for too many people, and the late presentation of issues, result in unacceptable levels of avoidable visual impairment.

If there is one thing we would change about eye care across Europe today, it would be better public awareness of the importance of looking after eyes and vision and what you can do to look after your eyes. The key is prevention and early detection by eye health professionals. Regular eye examinations with eye care professionals will enhance everyone’s quality of life now and for their whole lives.

That is why we are delighted, along with ECOO and MedTech, to be strongly supporting World Sight Day 2018, and its commitment to Eye Care Everywhere. The key now is to use World Sight Day to drive forward progress.