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WHO launches first World report on vision
At least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment or blindness, of which over 1 billion cases could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed
8 October 2019 News release Geneva

More than 1 billion people worldwide are living with vision impairment because they do not get the care they need for conditions like short and far sightedness, glaucoma and cataract, according to the first World report on vision issued by the World Health Organization.

The report, launched ahead of World Sight Day on 10 October, found that ageing populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are among the main drivers of the rising numbers of people living with vision impairment.

“Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship. Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage.”

Dr Tedros adds: “It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses.”

Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed…

Read the WHO World report on vision summary or the full report.

Even countries with developed HIS often do not include relevant data on eye conditions and vision impairment, their determinants, and health systems data related to eye care. Consequently, decision-makers at all levels of the health system may lack the information they need to identify problems and needs, to allocate resources optimally or to provide evidence-based services. This can result in a significant gap between what policy-makers, health workers and researchers know and what they need to know to improve the health of the population.

Women [in Pakistan] also had less access to information about treatments, due to lower literacy rates, and many saw cataracts as an inevitable consequence of ageing.

Best wishes, Neil

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