IAPB Vision Atlas Now Launched
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) would like to congratulate the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) on the official launch of the Vision Atlas! IAPB officially launched the Vision Atlas today during a meeting of the United Nations Friends of Vision Group organized by the UN Ambassadors from Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh and Ireland and addressed by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly.
The Vision Atlas contains important new estimates on the causes, magnitude and projections of vision loss from The Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG), as well as key evidence from the recently launched The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health.
The key messages from the Vision Atlas are:
- 1.1 billion people experience vision loss primarily because they do not have access to eye care services.
- Over 90% of those with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries.
- 73 of people with vision loss are over 50 years old.
- 55% of people with vision loss are women.
- The number of people with vision loss will rise from 1.1 billion to 1.7 billion people by 2050, mainly due to population growth and population ageing.
- Over 90% of vision loss is could have been prevented.
- The leading causes of vision loss include:
- Uncorrected refractive error, which is responsible for distance vision loss in 161 million people and near vision loss in an additional 510 million people.
- Unoperated cataracts, responsible for vision loss in 100 million people.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy accounting for 8.1 million, 7.8 million and 4.4 million people with vision loss respectively.
- 56m have other causes of vision loss
- Unaddressed poor vision results in a global economic productivity loss of $411 billion per annum.
- Poor eye health leads to an increased risk (up to 2.6 times) of mortality.
- Children with a vision impairment are up to 5 times less likely to be in formal education and often achieve poorer outcomes.
Eye care needs are expected to increase substantially; projections estimate half of the global population (4.8 billion) will need access to regular eye care services to prevent and treat sight loss by 2050.
IAPB’s Vision Atlas is a wealth of information relevant to businesses, eye hospitals, research centres, universities, policy makers and NGOs. Given that so much of vision loss is a consequence of inequity and lack of access for the most disadvantaged members of our global community, the Vision Atlas is an important resource for those responsible for achieving universal health coverage and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2021 launch provides a rich mix of data, narratives and interactive presentation tools that make it easy to understand and present complex data sets accessibly to our broad audiences.