In our daily lives, not many of us spend much time thinking about the importance of eye health. Despite the fact that nearly every aspect of society depends on sight—in social infrastructure, communication, sports, arts, labor, and education—we live in a world where vision is largely taken for granted.
World Sight Day was established by the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to raise awareness of blindness and visual impairments. It is held every year on the second Thursday in October, and this year falls on October 13th.
Why not take World Sight Day 2022 as an opportunity to consider the importance of our eyesight? We will also outline some of Santen's initiatives to address eye health issues in society.
Although medical care has made remarkable progress, not all people are reaping the benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 2.2 billion people worldwide still suffer from visual impairment or blindness, at least 1 billion of which could have been treated or prevented1.
Eye health is directly or indirectly related to nearly half of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Eye health has also been shown to influence poverty and gender inequality.
Eye diseases are expected to increase amid changes in our lifestyles brought about by factors such as global population growth, the progressive aging of the population profile in many societies, and the proliferation of digital devices used for online services and teleworking that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, interest in eye health is growing worldwide, and efforts to find solutions are gaining momentum, evidenced by the adoption of the first-ever resolutions on eye health by both the World Health Assembly and the United Nations General Assembly in 2021. Nevertheless, many challenges remain, including enhancing eye health care infrastructure, advancing the medical technology needed to manage eye diseases, and raising the quality and quantity of medical personnel.
As a company specializing in eye health, Santen is helping tens of millions of people around the world with their eye health needs.
We have been involved in ophthalmology for more than 130 years, and understand the profound impact that eye health has on people's lives and happiness.
We aspire to realize the happiest life for every individual, through the best vision experience. Specifically, we will continue to help reduce the loss of social and economic opportunities resulting from eye conditions, and to improve the quality of life (QOL) of more patients by orchestrating and mobilizing key technologies and partners arounds the world.
Following are some examples of Santen's work toward this goal in different parts of the world.
In Japan, we are providing digital information to improve the QOL of patients and consumers.
Our Kayumidasu smartphone app helps people deal with itchy eyes caused by pollinosis. It provides information on caution levels and countermeasures for itchy eyes and other eye symptoms based on daily weather forecasts, and includes an eye drop notification function to support "preemptive instillation" during the onset period.
Our other app, Hitomi Urulu Scan, uses image recognition technology to check the degree of eye moisture, and suggests measures to maintain and improve moisture levels.
In April 2021, we collaborated in the establishment of the Beijing Hongdandan Cultural Service Center for the Visually Impaired as a space where people can actively mingle and live together in harmony, regardless of visual impairment. The center works to provide local youth with eye health information and care methods, as well as to promote social understanding and support for the visually impaired.
Through a proprietary app, we provide a wide range of information to deepen communication with and among healthcare professionals, with content including educational materials, articles and videos on eye diseases, and columns by experts in the field.
Since its launch in early 2020, approximately 6,800 healthcare professionals, more than half of the ophthalmologists in the supported area2, have registered for the app.
We began rolling out a next-generation ophthalmology education digital platform for healthcare professionals from February 2022, aiming to contribute to the development of ophthalmology education in the European region by sharing industry best practices and providing innovative educational programs that incorporate gamified elements.
Santen is committed to solving global eye health challenges through innovative ophthalmology R&D and the deployment of world-leading technologies and treatments that improve people's lives. Based on our experience and deep understanding of the human impact of eye health, we will continue to develop solutions with people at the center of everything we do.
1World report on vision. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
2Countries and regions where Santen conducts its own sales activities