After reviewing population-based data, Stevens and colleagues reported that the age-standardized prevalence of blindness and moderate and severe vision impairment has decreased in the past 20 years.
The researchers evaluated data from 1980 through 2012 for this study published in Ophthalmology.
As the abstract states, globally, 32.4 million people were blind in 2010, and 191 million had moderate and severe vision impairment. For adults at least 50 years old, the prevalence of blindness was more than 4% in Western Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, in contrast to high-income regions with blindness prevalences of ≤0.4%. Vision impairment in older adults was highest in South Asia, Oceania, Eastern and Western Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and the Middle East, but less than 5% in all four high-income regions.
The global age-standardized prevalence of blindness and vision impairment for older adults decreased from 3% in 1990 to 1.9% in 2010 and from 14.3% to 10.4%, respectively.
As the global population has increased and aged between 1990 and 2010, the number of blind has increased by 0.6 million people. The abstract also highlights that those with moderate to severe vision impairment may have increased by 19 million people from 172 million people in 1990.
Stevens and colleagues concluded that while the prevalence of blindness and moderate to severe vision impairment has decreased, the population with it may have increased.