The much-anticipated 2020 papers on the global burden of vision loss by the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) have been published in Lancet Global Health today. These publications are an essential part of the data and evidence required to inform the global need for eye care services. The studies report that 1.1 billion people live with vision loss, primarily because they do not have access to eye care services, highlighting the inequity in access to eye care services. The studies also highlight the growing burden in the future.
The 2020 papers not only provide updated figures but also provide an analysis of the trends over the last 30 years in relation to VISION 2020: The Right to Sight. They show the sector’s progress and highlight the gaps and growing needs.
The VLEG group has been instrumental in forming the backbone of the evidence-base used to advocate for eye care services at global, regional and national levels. With the inclusion of 528 studies in 112 countries, these new publications provide a robust dataset and analysis of future trends.
The publications, Causes of blindness and vision impairment in 2020 and trends over 30 years, and prevalence of avoidable blindness in relation to VISION 2020: the Right to Sight: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study and Trends in prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment over 30 years: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study, offer a wealth of information on vision loss by category of vision loss, geography, age, gender and cause. IAPB has written an explainer to help members understand the VLEG approach and data.
The VLEG data continues to inform the IAPB Vision Atlas and to enable the eye care sector to speak with one voice to advocate for eye care services.The Vision Atlas presents the VLEG data using interactive maps, online narrative and interactive charts. The full papers can be found on Lancet Global Health above.
We would like to congratulate our VLEG colleagues on these latest publications, strengthening the evidence-base for global eye care needs and working together to ensure that it is available for policy and practice across the sector.
Photo credit: Young woman during visual acuity testing at an eye screening camp in Nepal; photo by Ellen Crystal, Seva Canada.