June 2017
Volume 58, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2017
Global Prevalence of Blindness and Distance and Near Vision Impairment: Magnitude, Temporal Trends, and Projections
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rupert R A Bourne
    Vision & Eye Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Seth Flaxman
    Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Tasanee Braithwaite
    Vision & Eye Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Jost B Jonas
    Medical Faculty Mannheim, Department of Ophthalmology,, Mannheim, Germany
  • Jill Keeffe
    L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India
  • John H Kempen
    Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    Discovery Eye Center, MyungSung Christian Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Janet L Leasher
    Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
  • Hans Limburg
    Health Information Services, Grootebroek, Netherlands
  • Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo
    Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    African Vision Research Institute, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
  • Konrad Pesudovs
    NHMRC Centre for Clinical Eye Research, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  • Serge Resnikoff
    International Health and Development, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Gretchen Stevens
    Department of Information, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Nina Tahhan
    Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    School of optometry and Vision science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Tien Wong
    Singapore Eye Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
  • Hugh Taylor
    Melbourne School of Populations and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Rupert Bourne, None; Seth Flaxman, None; Tasanee Braithwaite, None; Jost Jonas, None; Jill Keeffe, None; John Kempen, None; Janet Leasher, None; Hans Limburg, None; Kovin Naidoo, None; Konrad Pesudovs, None; Serge Resnikoff, None; Gretchen Stevens, None; Nina Tahhan, None; Tien Wong, None; Hugh Taylor, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Brien Holden Vision Institute
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2017, Vol.58, 840. doi:
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      Rupert R A Bourne, Seth Flaxman, Tasanee Braithwaite, Jost B Jonas, Jill Keeffe, John H Kempen, Janet L Leasher, Hans Limburg, Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo, Konrad Pesudovs, Serge Resnikoff, Gretchen Stevens, Nina Tahhan, Tien Wong, Hugh Taylor; Global Prevalence of Blindness and Distance and Near Vision Impairment: Magnitude, Temporal Trends, and Projections. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):840.

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

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Purpose : To provide global estimates of the 2015 global burden of vision impairment, including functional presbyopia, and trends on vision impairment by country, gender, age, with projections to 2020, 2040 and 2050.

Methods : Meta-analysis of population-based datasets relevant to global VI and blindness from 1980 to 2015. Hierarchical models were fitted to estimate- by age, country, and year- 2015 prevalences of (1) mild VI (presenting visual acuity worse than 6/12 down to 6/18 inclusive), moderate to severe VI (MSVI; presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18 down to 3/60 inclusive); and blindness (presenting visual acuity worse than 3/60); and (2) functional presbyopia (defined as presenting near vision worse than N6 or N8 at 40cm where best-corrected distance visual acuity was better than 6/12). Eighty percent uncertainty intervals (UI) were calculated.

Results : Globally, among 7.33 billion people living in 2015, an estimated 36.0 million (80% UI: 12.9-65.4 million; 55% women) were blind and 216.6 million (80% UI: 98.5-359.1 million) people (2.95%; 80% UI:1.34%-4.89%; 55% women) had MSVI, while 188 million people (80% UI: 65-350 million) had mild VI (2.57%; 80% UI: 0.88%-4.77%). Functional presbyopia affected an estimated 667 million people (80% UI: 365-997 million) aged 50 years and older. The estimated number of blind persons increased (by 17.9%) from 30.5 million in 1990 to 36.0 million in 2015. This change was disaggregated into 3 factors, namely, percentage change because of population growth (+38.4%), population ageing after accounting for population growth (+34.6%), and change in age-specific prevalence (-36.7%).

Conclusions : There is an ongoing reduction in the age-standardised prevalence of VI, yet growth and change in age structure of the World’s population is causing a substantial increase in number of people affected. These observations, plus a very large contribution of uncorrected presbyopia, highlight the need to scale up blindness alleviation efforts further at global, regional and country levels.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.


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