Addressing avoidable vision loss with existing, highly cost-effective treatments, and improving inclusion of people living with permanent vision loss in society, offers enormous potential to improve the economic outlook of individuals and nations, and to contribute to a healthier, safer, more equitable world, according to a new Commission report on Global Eye Health published in The Lancet Global Health journal.
Without additional investment in global eye health, new estimates reveal that 1.8 billion people are expected to be living with untreated vision loss by 2050. The vast majority of these (90%) reside in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the greatest proportion occurring in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
"It is unacceptable that more than a billion people worldwide are needlessly living with treatable vision impairment", says Professor Matthew Burton, co-Chair of the Commission and Director of the International Centre for Eye Health at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK. "Vision impairment leads to detrimental effects for health, wellbeing, and economic development including reduced education and employment opportunities, social isolation, and shorter life expectancy. As the COVID-19 pandemic brings renewed emphasis on building resilient and responsive health systems, eye health must take its rightful place within the mainstream health agenda and global development."