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IAPB Releases Updated Statistics about Blindness and Low Vision

Posted on August 4, 2017
Topic: Advocacy/Vision 2020, Journal/Publication, Research

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has released updated statistics for the prevalence of blindness and low vision. These findings, published on 2 August in the Lancet, provide the latest global estimates of the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in the world.

The paper, published in the Lancet by the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG), provides the latest global estimates of the prevalence of blindness and MSVI in the world. By analysing data from 1990 to 2015, the VLEG have employed a sophisticated methodology to produce these detailed estimates, which also includes projections to 2020 for the first time.

Key Findings:

  • 36 million people who are blind,
  • 217 million people with severe or moderate visual impairment (distance),
  • 253 million people visually impaired (in 2015),
  • 1.1 billion people with near-vision impairment,
  • Visual impairment prevalence has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.38% in 2015,
  • 89% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries,
  • 55% of visually impaired people are women.

For years these prevalence estimates were increasing, but now for the second time since IAPB began releasing this data we see a reduction in the number of people who are blind or suffer from low vision. In addition, these numbers show that progress is being made to close the gender gap in eye care.

This update is very encouraging and affirms the effectiveness of work supported by the ICO and our Members and partner NGOs to increase access to eye care around the globe.

Along with these estimates, the IAPB has created a Vision Atlas which will host causes data and country-level progress indicators, plus commentary from experts on a variety of eye health issues. By bringing all this information together, the Vision Atlas becomes a powerful tool for advocacy, planning and fundraising.

The updated IAPB Vision Atlas, with the latest published estimates and updated country indicator data will officially go live on World Sight Day 2017 (12 October 2017).

“The VLEG global prevalence estimates present a very satisfactory trend” notes Peter Ackland, CEO, IAPB. “It is heartening to note that our collective efforts are leading to meaningful change across the world. I cannot wait for the IAPB Vision Atlas to aid these efforts.”

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