World's blind population to soar: study

August 3, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The world's blind will increase threefold from about 36 million today to 115 million in 2050 as populations expand and individuals grow ever older, researchers said Thursday.

The number of people with a moderate to severe —only those not corrected by glasses, or an operation—will also near triple, from about 217 million to 588 million over the same period.

Most of those affected live in Africa and Asia, a team wrote in The Lancet Global Health journal.

Looking at data from 188 countries, the researchers concluded that the prevalence of blindness—the number of blind per population group—decreased from 0.75 percent in 1990 to 0.48 percent in 2015.

The rate of moderate to severe visual impairment declined from 3.83 percent to 2.9 per cent over the same time.

"This is almost certainly because of improved ," such as , study co-author Rupert Bourne of the Anglia Ruskin University told AFP.

But the rough numbers have not stopped rising in step with and ageing. Most visual problems occur in .

The new forecast is based on UN population projections, even assuming that the prevalence continues to decline, said Bourne.

The research did not consider the impact of possible improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and access to healthcare, as "nobody can accurately estimate" what those will be, he added.

Someone with moderate visual impairment is considered to be unable to legally drive, and would not recognise another person from across the street.

"With the number of people with vision impairment accelerating, we must take action to increase our current treatment efforts at global, regional and country levels," said Bourne.

"Investing in these treatments has previously reaped considerable benefits, including improved quality of life, and economic benefits as people remain in work."

Explore further: 108 million people have correctable vision impairment, global study estimates

Related Stories

108 million people have correctable vision impairment, global study estimates

February 26, 2016
Uncorrected refractive error (URE)—nearsightedness, farsightedness, and other focusing problems correctable by prescription lenses—is responsible for moderate to severe vision impairment in 101 million people and blindness ...

Visual impairment, blindness cases in US expected to double by 2050

May 19, 2016
With the youngest of the baby boomers hitting 65 by 2029, the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the United States is expected to double to more than 8 million by 2050, according to projections based ...

Study finds vision loss due to diabetes is rising globally

August 23, 2016
Diabetes has become one of the top causes of vision loss around the world, according to an article published on August 23, 2016 in Diabetes Care journal by a global consortium led by researchers at Nova Southeastern University's ...

Prevalence of visual impairment among preschool children projected to increase

May 4, 2017
The number of preschool children in the U.S. with visual impairment is projected to increase by more than 25 percent in the coming decades, with the majority of visual impairment resulting from simple uncorrected refractive ...

For older adults, poor vision can lead to physical decline and cognitive problems

December 21, 2016
Nearly 65 percent of adults aged 50 and over have vision problems. Although we know that poor vision can lessen an older adult's ability to function, until now not much has been known about how poor vision impacts an older ...

Recommended for you

Curve-eye-ture: How to grow artificial corneas

October 19, 2017
Scientists at Newcastle University, UK, and the University of California have developed a new method to grow curved human corneas improving the quality and transparency - solely by controlling the behaviour of cells in a ...

Clinical study success for novel contact lens device aimed to improve glaucoma treatment

October 19, 2017
A novel contact lens device developed by University of Liverpool engineers to improve the treatment of glaucoma has been found to reliably track pressure changes in the eye and be wearable by people who took part in its first ...

Study indicates proof of concept for using a surrogate liquid biopsy to provide genetic profile of retinoblastoma tumors

October 12, 2017
Retinoblastoma is a tumor of the retina that generally affects children under 5 years of age. If not diagnosed early, retinoblastoma may result in loss of one or both eyes and can be fatal. Unlike most cancers that are diagnosed ...

Farsighted children struggle with attention, study finds

October 10, 2017
Farsighted preschoolers and kindergartners have a harder time paying attention and that could put them at risk of slipping behind in school, a new study suggests.

New drug reduces rate of progression of incurable eye disease

October 4, 2017
An international study including researchers from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) has found a way to slow the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - one of the most common causes of vision ...

Gene therapy shows promise for reversing blindness

October 2, 2017
Most causes of untreatable blindness occur due to loss of the millions of light sensitive photoreceptor cells that line the retina, similar to the pixels in a digital camera.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.