Ten years ago, an estimated 19 million children worldwide suffered from serious vision problems such as near-sightedness, or myopia, the leading cause of distance vision impairment. Since then, this epidemic has grown even worse.
Severe myopia is a particular problem, increasing the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration — all of which can lead to irreversible vision loss. About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings, though developed countries are affected as well.
Yet most eye conditions in children can be prevented, treated and corrected. When it comes to reducing poverty for a child, the single most cost-effective healthcare intervention available is to improve his or her sight.
The extent to which uncorrected poor vision hurts children – psychologically, socially, educationally and economically – is often underappreciated and, worse, overlooked. The causes of long-term visual damage, once believed strictly genetic, are also based in lifestyle, culture and...Read More