Global data on vision loss

Implications for services

Authored by: Jill Keeffe

The Routledge Handbook of Visual Impairment

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138085411
eBook ISBN: 9781315111353
Adobe ISBN:


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Comprehensive and reliable data are necessary to gain knowledge of the eye care, education and rehabilitation needs of a country to plan services and understand barriers to access and use of services. Many counties have conducted surveys and research studies to plan, monitor and evaluate eye care activity in their countries as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its Global Action Plan 2014–2019. This chapter will present the global data available from the 2015 Global Burden of Disease publications and discuss the implications for eye care and rehabilitation indicated by the results. The data shows that there has been a decrease in the prevalence of both vision impairment and blindness but an increase in the numbers of people with vision loss. The increase in life expectancy in most countries has contributed to the increase in the numbers. The implications of this are discussed in relation to the challenges in provision of eye care services for increasing numbers of people and for a longer time for each person. This also impacts on the provision of the long-term needs for vision-related rehabilitation.

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