Latest Projections on Global Blindness and Low Vision Published  Worldwide today, there are an estimated 36 million cases of blindness and 217 million people with moderate or severe visual impairment (MSVI), according to a study published 2 August in The Lancet Global Health journal. The Vision Loss Expert Group––the authors of the study––forecast there will be almost 115 million cases of blindness and 588 million people with MSVI in 2050.


Key findings are: 

36 million people are blind

217 million people have severe or moderate visual impairment (distance) 

253 million people visually impaired 

1.1 billion people with near-vision impairment 

89% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries 

55% of visually impaired people are women

Although the absolute numbers are increasing, the age-standardized prevalence of impairment has dropped significantly from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.38% in 2015.

Although prevalence rates of blindness and vision impairment have decreased in recent years, there is no room for complacency, as the number with visual impairment is expected to increase as the world population grows and ages.

“The new estimates emphasize the need for coordinated eye health service delivery, with particular attention to cataract and refractive error,” says Prof. Hugh Taylor, ICO President and one of the authors of the study.

This article—the first among a series of papers appearing on the new data––reflects positively on the efforts of the global eye health sector over the years.