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WHO issues first World report on vision

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

 

WHO issues first World report on vision

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings and highlights of the study.

For Mains: Concerns and measures needed to overcome the challenges.

 

Context: WHO has launched it’s first World report on vision.

 

Key findings:

  • At least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment or blindness, of which over 1 billion cases could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed.
  • The burden of eye conditions and vision impairment is not borne equally: it is often far greater in people living in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations. 
  • The unmet need of distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is estimated to be four times higher than in high-income regions.
  • Low- and middle-income regions of western and eastern sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have rates of blindness that are eight times higher than in all high-income countries. Rates of cataract and trachomatous trichiasis are higher among women, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
  • US$14.3 billion is needed to address the backlog of 1 billion people living with vision impairment or blindness due to short and far sightedness, and cataracts.

 

Main causes of rising cases of vision impairment:

Ageing populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are among the main drivers of the rising numbers of people living with vision impairment.

 

Other main drivers of the most common eye conditions include:

  1. Myopia (near-sightedness): Increased time spent indoors and increased “near work” activities are leading to more people suffering from myopia. Increased outdoor time can reduce this risk.
  2. Diabetic retinopathy: increasing numbers of people are living with diabetes, particularly Type 2, which can impact vision if not detected and treated. Nearly all people with diabetes will have some form of retinopathy in their lifetimes. Routine eye checks and good diabetes control can protect people’s vision from this condition.
  3. Late detection: Due to weak or poorly integrated eye care services, many people lack access to routine checks that can detect conditions and lead to the delivery of appropriate preventive care or treatment.

 

Way ahead:

  • Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated.
  • People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship.
  • Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage.

 

Sources: down to earth.

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