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At Least 2.2 Billion People Have Vision Impairment Worldwide

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 -- At least 2.2 billion people worldwide have vision impairment or blindness, according to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Researchers from the WHO evaluated the prevalence, associated costs, and prevention of eye conditions and vision impairment worldwide.

According to the report, eye conditions are very common, with 2.2 billion people having vision impairment or blindness globally. Of these, at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. The burden of eye conditions and vision impairment is greater in low- and middle-income countries and underserved populations. The number of people with eye conditions, vision impairment, and blindness is expected to increase with population growth and aging, behavioral and lifestyle changes, and urbanization. For unaddressed refractive errors and cataract, the costs of the coverage gap are estimated to be $14.3 billion globally. An estimated 11.9 million people have moderate or severe vision impairment or blindness due to glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and trachoma that could have been prevented. The estimated costs of preventing the associated vision impairment would have been $5.8 billion. Strategies to address the needs associated with eye conditions and vision impairment include health promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies.

"People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., director general of the WHO, said in a statement.

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Posted: October 2019

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