Global Vision Impairment Facts

Blindness and Visual Impairment: Global Facts

The Lancet Global Health has recently two papers by the Vision Loss Expert group. They represent the latest data documenting the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment we have currently. The World Health Organization (WHO) too uses this data now.

  • 36 million people who are blind
  • 217 million people with moderate or severe distance vision impairment
  • Of those with blindness and MSVI, 124 million people have uncorrected refractive errors and 65 million have cataract—more than 75% of all blindness and MSVI is avoidable
  • 253 million people blind or vision impaired (in 2015)
  • 1 billion people with near-vision impairment
  • The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015.
  • 89% of vision impaired people live in low and middle-income countries
  • 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women
  • Top causes of visual impairment: refractive errors, cataracts and glaucoma
  • Top causes of blindness: cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has greatly reduced in the last 20 years

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In May 2013 the 66th World Health Assembly unanimously approved the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019 – Towards Universal Eye Health. The new Global Action Plan (GAP) is now the most important strategic document in eye health. It builds upon and replaces previous VISION 2020 and 2009 – 2013 Action Plans.