April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Number of People Blind or Visually Impaired by Diabetic Retinopathy Worldwide and in World Regions 1990 - 2010
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janet L Leasher
    UNESCO Chair in Visual Health and Development, Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Jost B Jonas
    Vision & Eye Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Rupert Bourne
    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
  • 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, Syndey, NSW, Australia
  • Hugh R Taylor
    Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Janet Leasher, None; Jost Jonas, None; Rupert Bourne, None; Seth Flaxman, None; Jill Keeffe, 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, 5366. doi:
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      Janet L Leasher, Jost B Jonas, Rupert Bourne, Seth R Flaxman, Jill Keeffe, Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo, Konrad Pesudovs, Tien Y Wong, Serge Resnikoff, Hugh R Taylor, Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010; Number of People Blind or Visually Impaired by Diabetic Retinopathy Worldwide and in World Regions 1990 - 2010. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5366.

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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 diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Methods: Based on the Global Burden of Disease GBD) Study 2010 and ongoing literature searches to January 2012, we estimated trends in causes of moderate and severe vision impairment (MSVI; presenting visual acuity <6/18, ≥3/60) and blindness (presenting visual acuity <3/60).

Results: In 2010, out of overall 32.4 million blind and 191 million vision impaired, 834,000 (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 703,000, 1,102,000) people were blind, and 3.7 million (95% uncertainty interval (UI):3.1,5.5) were visually impaired due to DR. From 1990 to 2010, the number of blind or visually impaired due to DR increased by 176,000 (95%UI: 136,000, 535,000) or 27% and by 1.445 million (95%UI: 1,289, 2,561) or 64%, respectively. DR caused worldwide 2.6% (95%UI: 2.2,3.4) of all blindness in 2010 and 1.9% (95%UI: 1.6,2.7) of all MSVI. These figures were lower in regions with younger populations (<2% in East and Southeast Asia, Oceania) than in high-income regions with relatively older populations (>4%). From 1990 to 2010, the figures increased from 2.1% (1.9,2.5) to 2.6%, and from 1.3% (1.2,1.6) to 1.9%, respectively. This took place in all world regions except in Western Europe and high-income North America where a slight decrease occurred. The age-standardized prevalence of DR related blindness and MSVI in adults aged 50+ years were higher in women than in men 0.1% (95%UI:0.0,0.1) versus 0.0% (95%UI:0.0,0.1); and 0.2% (95%UI:0.2,0.4) versus 0.2% (95%UI:0.1,0.3), respectively. Both values were highest in North Africa/Middle East (0.6%;95%UI: 0.4,0.9 and 1.0%;95%UI: 0.7,1.16, respectively) and all regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and lowest in high-income regions and South Asia. Both prevalences increased from 1990 to 2010 in all Sub-Saharan regions (from 0.18% to 0.45% for blindness; from 0.3% to 0.8% for MSVI) and did not change in the other regions.

Conclusions: In 2010, 0.8 million people were blind and 3.7 million people were visually impaired due to DR, with an increase by 176,000 (27%) and 1.4 million (64%) from 1990 to 2010. Age-standardized prevalence of DR related blindness and MSVI was higher in women and in Sub-Saharan Africa. One out of 39 blind people was blind due to DR, and one out of 52 visually impaired people was visually impaired due to DR.

Keywords: 463 clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • 499 diabetic retinopathy  

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