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Improved eye care can increase household income which is directly linked to reducing hunger. Research has shown that following cataract surgery, 46% of households moved up an income bracket, allowing families to afford food for themselves and helping to reduce vitamin A deficiency, the leading cause of childhood blindness.

A healthier life

A healthier life

Image by Ulrich Eigner

The wider efforts to achieve zero hunger, SDG 2, will in turn benefit eye health globally. Ending extreme hunger will reduce malnutrition-related eye disease and preserve the sight and livelihoods for all generations. The World Health Organization has classified vitamin A deficiency as a public health problem affecting about one third of children aged 6 to 59 months, with the highest rates in sub-Saharan Africa (48%) and South Asia (44%). Vitamin A deficiency is the world’s leading preventable cause of childhood blindness and low vision. An estimated 250,000–500,000 children who are vitamin A-deficient become blind every year, and half of them die within 12 months of losing their sight. The burden falls on low-and-middle income countries, particularly in rural areas, with the prevalence of blindness in children approximately 10 times greater than in high-income countries.

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UN Photo exhibition, SDGs, IAPB