National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

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News:The National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 2019 has been released by the Union Health Minister.

Facts:

About the survey:

  • The survey was conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) for Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It was conducted in 31 districts of 24 States.

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • The survey has found that Cataract is the principal cause of blindness for people above 50 years in India.
  • India was the first country to launch the National Programme for Control of Blindness in 1976 to reduce blindness prevalence to 0.3 per cent by 2020. 
  • But,the survey has found that the estimated prevalence of blindness still stands at 1.99% as of October,2019.
  • The blindness is more pronounced among illiterate group than literates and more prevalent in the rural population than urban population.
  • It has also found that approximately 93% of cases of blindness and 96.2% visual impairment cases in this age group were avoidable.
  • The survey has also said that India has successfully met the WHO target of 25% reduction from 2014-19 in visual impairment from the baseline level of 2010.
  • The barriers to accessing treatment includes (a)no one to accompany the patient (b)seasonal preferences and (c)financial constraints.

Additional information:

About Cataract:

  • Cataract is a clouding or loss of transparency of the lens in the eye as a result of tissue breakdown and protein clumping. 
  • There are many causes of cataracts, including aging, cortisone medication, trauma, diabetes and other diseases.
  • Cataracts affect most people who live into an old age.