News:The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the first World Vision Report.
Key takeaways from the report:
- The report has warned that population ageing will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people with vision impairment and blindness.
- It said that more than a quarter of the world’s population which is around 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment.
- The report has said that the prevalence of vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions was estimated by the report to be four times higher than in high-income regions.
- It also said that the rural populations face greater barriers to accessing eye care due to them having to travel greater distances and poor road quality, among other factors.
- It also highlighted that there was a gender disparity in accessibility to eye care services, with women standing a lesser chance of availing them.
Causes of rise in vision impairment:
- The various reasons for the increase in numbers of people living with vision impairment are (a) Ageing populations (b)changing lifestyles and (c)limited access to eye care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Common vision impairments listed in the report:
- Presbyopia which is a condition in which it is difficult to see nearby objects has affected 1.8 billion people.This condition occurs with advancing age.
- The common refractive error called myopia, which is a condition in which it is difficult to see objects at a distance has affected 2.6 billion with 312 million being under the age of 19 years.
- Diabetic retinopathy has affected 3 million.It occurs to people who are living with diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes.It can impact vision if not detected and treated.
- Cataracts which is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision has affected around 65 million people.
- Further,the trachoma has affected 2 million and several other vision impairments were also listed in the report.
- Trachoma is caused due to bacterial infection in the eye.Many countries have eliminated it including India.
India and vision impairment:
- The report has praised India for its National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB).
- According to the report, in 2016-17,the NPCB has provided cataract surgery to a total 6.5 million people in India,achieving a cataract surgical rate of over 6,000 per million population.
- During this period, the school screening was also provided to nearly 32 million children and approximately 750,000 spectacles were distributed.