Vision loss is any reduction in the ability to see. It includes blurred vision, cloudy vision, double vision, blind spots, poor night vision, and loss of peripheral vision. Vision loss has varying degrees of severity; it may affect one or both eyes, it may occur gradually or suddenly, and it may be partial or complete.
To combat vision loss in Francophone Africa, OPC works with local governments, civil society organizations and communities to develop comprehensive eye care programs, expand access to eye care services and encourage local ownership of eye health care systems.
How many people are affected by vision loss?
According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Vision Atlas 2021 report, at least 771 million people have vision loss that is preventable or treatable. Additionally, at least 1 billion more people live with eye health conditions that require ongoing access to services to optimize their vision and ability to function in society.
Because of demographic growth, aging populations and lifestyle changes, statistics project that vision loss could affect 1.7 billion people by 2050, without significant investments to prevent this from happening.
All categories of vision loss are projected to grow:
- Blindness: 43 million to 61 million people
- Moderate to severe vision impairment: 295 million to 474 million people
- Mild vision impairment: 258 million to 360 million people
- Near vision impairment: 510 million to 866 million people
90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable, up from 75%. Safe, effective solutions exist and we need your help to make them accessible to communities in Francophone Africa!
Who is affected by vision loss?
Vision loss can affect people of all ages, but the burden tends to be greater in rural areas and for women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, indigenous populations and people over 50 years old.
- 55% of people with vision loss are women and girls
- 73% of people with vision loss are over 50 years old
In low- and middle-income countries, vision loss is felt more deeply and has socio-economic and social repercussions. In fact, the prevalence of vision impairment in these regions is estimated to be four times higher than in high-income regions.
On a regional level, Francophone Africa receives significantly less foreign aid funding to restoring sight and providing quality eye care compared to Anglophone Africa, which means that Francophone Africans are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of vision loss.
Why is vision loss a global health issue?
In the developing world, partial vision loss or blindness can have major and long-lasting effects on all aspect of life, including daily personal activities, interacting with the community, school and work opportunities and the ability to access public services. Besides the individual affected by vision loss, it impacts their families who must provide care and support with often limited resources. This, in turn, affects the social and socio-economic wellbeing of the individual and their family, with the effects felt on a broader community, regional and national scale.
Simply put, addressing vision loss and ending avoidable blindness improves the economy, equality and development of a country, and at the same time reduces its financial and social burden.
Why is investing in inclusive eye health important?
Good vision and eye health are fundamental to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. When you invest in eye health, you help improve wellbeing, success in education, and increase workforce and community participation. Good vision provides people greater economic opportunities for themselves and their communities.
What is inclusive eye health?
Inclusive eye health (IEH) means ensuring eye care services are accessible and welcoming to all members of the community, including people with sensory, physical and intellectual impairments, and those with mental health conditions; it also means proactively ensuring that people with long term vision impairment access their right to wider opportunities in rehabilitation, health, education, livelihoods and social inclusion. IEH is essential for reaching the poorest people in the most neglected communities.
What are the causes of vision loss?
The primary causes of vision loss include uncorrected refractive errors (671 million people), cataract (100 million people), glaucoma (8 million people), age-related macular degeneration (8 million people) and diabetic retinopathy (4 million people).
What are the treatments for vision loss?
Evidence-based, cost-effective solutions to vision loss already exist. These include eye exams, glasses and cataract operations, which could alleviate the vast majority of vision loss.
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You can help the Organization for the Prevention of Blindness empower through sight in Francophone Africa.
Consider making a gift today. Gifts by check can be made out to KBFUS with “American Friends of OPC” in the memo section. Please send checks to KBFUS:
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At the Organization for the Prevention of Blindness (OPC), we chose to be a “glass house” to explain where every dollar goes. We owe it to you. Of every dollar we spend, 95 cents goes to preserving and restoring eyesight of the world’s most vulnerable people.