Glaring inequities have effectively made good eye health a luxury of the wealthy when it should be an indispensable piece of universal health care, according to The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health, which yesterday published findings from a review of 2 decades of research.
Vision impairment not only affects mobility and mental wellbeing—it is also “seems to be associated with” higher mortality risk.
- Nearly 600 million people had impaired distance vision last year
- 43 million were blind.
- More than 510 million others had uncorrected near vision that because of a lack of reading glasses.
The Good News: For over 90% of people with vision impairment, the cause is preventable or treatable, and cost-effective solutions are already out there.
But even countries with strong health infrastructure have blind spots, notes an accompanying commentary. In New Zealand, for example, Indigenous communities still suffer higher rates of uncorrected refractive error, keratoconus, untreated cataract, and diabetic retinopathy.