Source: Data from VLEG/GBD 2020 model, accessed via the IAPB Vision Atlas
This anticipated surge is primarily due to population growth and ageing, however, we know that these lifestyle changes are also increasing vision loss. Increased urbanization and education, more sedentary and indoor lifestyles, less-nutritious foods and resulting obesity have all contributed to the dramatic rise in the global prevalence of diabetes and myopia globally.
In 2000, the global estimate of adults living with diabetes was 151 million. By 2015 this had grown to 415 million people and today, a staggering 463 million people are living with diabetes. It’s predicted there will be 642 million adults with diabetes by 2040, and 700 million adults by 2045 (International Diabetes Federation).
Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, 2020 to 2045
(Global, number of people in millions)
Data from Teo, Zhen Ling, et al. “Global Prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy and Projection of Burden through 2045: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Ophthalmology (2021).
In 2015, it was estimated that 23% of the world’s population had myopia. By 2050, this is projected to rise to 50%. These environmental and other factors mean that the numbers affected by myopic macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are rising quickly.
Eye health services need considerable investment to prevent staggering rates of vision loss.
Chart description: The numbers affected (in millions) by vision loss due to myopia macular degeneration causing blindness or moderate to severe vision impairment from 1990 to 2020, by 10-year intervals, and projected to 2050 by 10 year intervals. Adults 50 years and over, males and females.