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Causes of Vision Loss

Diabetic Retinopathy

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Crude prevalence of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, 2020

(all ages, males & females)

Source: Data from VLEG/GBD 2020 model, accessed via the IAPB Vision Atlas

Diabetic Retinopathy: Global summary from the VLEG study

Focus On DiabetesDiabetic retinopathy is the smallest contributor to vision loss amongst listed causes in 2020. However, it is the only cause of blindness that showed a global increase in age-standardised prevalence between 1990 and 2020. This is likely due to an increase in the prevalence of diabetes and people with diabetes increasingly living longer.

Diabetic retinopathy continues to be an important cause of vision impairment, particularly in younger, economically active age groups and is an emerging cause of blindness in many regions of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Of concern is that in comparison to cataract and refractive disorders, the management of severe diabetic retinopathy requires a disproportionate amount of resources, including the availability of ophthalmologists.

For every person that experiences vision impairment and blindness from diabetic retinopathy, there are many more living with early stage diabetic retinopathy who need comprehensive and integrated people centred eye care services to prevent vision loss.

103 million people have some form of diabetic retinopathy – 22.3% of all people with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy (Teo et al., 2021).

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