April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Number of People Blind or Visually Impaired or by Glaucoma Worldwide and in World Regions 1990 - 2010
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rupert Bourne
    Vision & Eye Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Jost B Jonas
    Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
  • Seth R Flaxman
    School of Computer Science & Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jill Keeffe
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Janet Leasher
    Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo
    Vision Research Institute, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
  • Konrad Pesudovs
    NHMRC Centre for Clinical Eye Research, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  • Tien Y Wong
    Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore, Singapore
  • Serge Resnikoff
    Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Hugh R Taylor
    Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Rupert Bourne, None; Jost Jonas, None; Seth Flaxman, None; Jill Keeffe, None; Janet Leasher, None; Kovin Naidoo, None; Konrad Pesudovs, None; Tien Wong, None; Serge Resnikoff, None; Hugh Taylor, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2014, Vol.55, 4278. doi:
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      Rupert Bourne, Jost B Jonas, Seth R Flaxman, Jill Keeffe, Janet Leasher, Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo, Konrad Pesudovs, Tien Y Wong, Serge Resnikoff, Hugh R Taylor, The Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study; Number of People Blind or Visually Impaired or by Glaucoma Worldwide and in World Regions 1990 - 2010. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):4278.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: To estimate the number of people visually impaired or blind due to glaucoma.

Methods: A systematic review for the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) Study 2010 and an ongoing literature search (to 2012) resulted in 243 population-based eye surveys. These data were used to estimate the global burden of moderate and severe vision impairment (MSVI; presenting visual acuity <6/18, ≥3/60) and blindness (presenting visual acuity <3/60). 66 of these studies specified the proportion attributable to glaucoma. We used the DisMod-MR of the GBD to calculate fraction of vision impairment due to glaucoma.

Results: In 2010, out of overall 32.4 million blind and 191 million vision impaired, 2.1 million (95% Uncertainty Interval (UI):1.9,2.6) people were blind, and 4.2 million (95% UI:3.7,5.8) million were visually impaired due to glaucoma. Glaucoma caused worldwide 6.6% (95% UI:5.9,7.9) of all blindness in 2010 and 2.2% (95% UI:2.0,2.8) of all MSVI. These figures were lower in regions with younger populations (<5% in South Asia) than in high-income regions with relatively old populations (>10%). From 1990 to 2010, the number of blind or visually impaired due to glaucoma increased by 0.8 million (95%UI:0.7, 1.1) or 62% and by 2.3 million (95%UI:2.1,3.5) or 83%, respectively. Age-standardized global prevalence of glaucoma related blindness and MSVI in adults aged 50+ years decreased from 0.2% (95% UI:0.1,0.2) in 1990 to 0.1% (95% UI:0.1,0.2) in 2010, and increased from 0.2% (95%UI:0.2,0.3) to 0.3% (95% UI:0.2,0.4), respectively. The percentage of global blindness and MSVI caused by glaucoma increased between 1990 and 2010 from 4.4% (4.0,5.1) to 6.6%, and from 1.2% (1.1,1.5) to 2.2% (2.0, 2.8), respectively. Age-standardized prevalence of glaucoma related blindness and MSVI did not differ markedly between world regions nor between women (0.1% (95% UI:0.1,0.2) and 0.3% (95% UI:0.2,0.4), respectively) and men (0.1% (95% UI:0.1,0.2) and 0.3% (95% UI:0.3,0.4), respectively).

Conclusions: In 2010, 2.1 million people were blind and 4.2 million people were visually impaired due to glaucoma, with an increase by 0.8 million and 2.3 million for the number of blind and visually impaired, respectively, from 1990 to 2010. One out of 15 blind people was blind due to glaucoma, and one out of 45 visually impaired people was visually impaired due to glaucoma. These data highlight the increasing global burden of glaucoma.

Keywords: 459 clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: biostatistics/epidemiology methodology  

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