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Critical New Data on Vision Impairment

Posted on October 26, 2017
Topic: Advocacy/Vision 2020, Journal/Publication

Data for causes of vision impairment and blindness form an important basis of recommendations in public health policies. While the prevalence of blindness has decreased globally, and vision for millions of people has been saved, there is still much to do.

The Vision Loss Expert Group published two articles in The Lancet in conjunction with World Sight Day that offer both valuable statistics and concerning analysis: 

  • The global level of blindness caused by cataracts in adults over age 50 has remained almost unchanged, declining from 36.7 percent in 1990 to 35.1 percent in 2015, with a further decline to 34.7 percent predicted by 2020. 
  • As the population aged 50-plus is set to rise dramatically, stalled progress on cataracts and other causes of blindness—and the progressive nature of those diseases—means the number of blind individuals is expected to triple by the year 2050. 
  • A lack of access to eye health care in low- and middle-income countries has slowed progress.

The articles––“Global Causes of Blindness and Distance Vision Impairment 1990–2020: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” and “Global Causes of Vision Loss in 2015”––follow the Vision Loss Expert Group’s earlier projections on global blindness and low vision published in the September 2017 issue of The Lancet.

On World Sight Day 2017, the IAPB Vision Atlas was published, which presents this complex data through maps and infographics along with context and expert commentary. The Atlas is an effective new tool for understanding these trends and for advocating an increased commitment to eye health. 

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