Blindness : a global problem
285 million people are affected by visual impairment. Among them, 39 million are blind, and within that, 1.4 million are children under the age of 15. Source : World Health Organisation, WHO
The risk of blindness is ten times higher in the developing world than in industrialised countries. 90% of blind people live in a developing country (Source : Access Economics, March 2010). There are at least 7 million blind people in Africa, 9 million in India and 6 million in China ;
Blindness mainly affects the elderly and, regardless of age, women are most at risk ;
Cataracts are the primary cause of blindness in the world ;
Visual impairment linked to age (age related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy) is increasing even in countries in the developing world ;
The correction of refractive based problems could offer normal sight to more than 12 million children and allow them to have a normal education.
These statistics are at risk of doubling between now and 2020, as a result of demographic growth and ageing populations, thus exacerbating the immense human tragedy which deprives so many individuals of one of their fundamental rights : the right to see.
From a strictly financial view, blindness and visual impairment are said to have cost the global economy $2.3 trillion in 2010*. This estimate includes health spending, the value of the time spent caring for patients and the productivity loss, leading to a loss in tax revenue to support health systems. In Europe the cost has risen to 377 million euros, and the indirect costs to 134 billion euros. *Access Economics, prepared for AMD Alliance International, ’The Global Economic Cost of Visual Impairment’, March 2010. All the costs take into account the value of the American dollar in 2008.
An estimated 2 million people are visually impaired and 77,000 are blind ; within this, 22,000 are children and adolescents. Source : Ministère de la Santé, de la famille et des persons Handicappés
40% of diabetics suffer from diabetic retinopathy due to a lack of information, and without treatment they become blind. They represent about 1 million patients. Source : chups.jussieu.fr