• Worldwide, 314 million people are visually impaired
  • 45 million people are blind, while 269 million have moderate and severe visual impairment
  • 153 million people are visually impaired because of uncorrected refractive errors (uncorrected near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). In most cases, normal vision could be restored with eyeglasses
  • Upto 80% of blindness and up to 85% of moderate and severe visual impairment is avoidable by prevention, treatment and cure 
  • Almost 90% of blind people live in low-income countries
  • Restoration of sight through cataract surgery is one of the most cost effective health interventions
  • Infectious causes of blindness are decreasing as a result of public health interventions and socio-economic development: e.g. blinding trachoma now affects 40 million people compared to 360 million in 1985
  • Ageing populations and changes in lifestyle could considerably increase the magnitude of visual impairment due to chronic conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, unless appropriate eye care services are provided
Updated 28 September 2010