234 out of 15,000 studies between 1980 and 2012 have shown that rates of blindness and visual impairment have decreased significantly in developed countries during the past two decades. Macular degeneration now appears to be the leading cause of chronic vision loss, surpassing cataracts and glaucoma. The most common cause of partial vision impairment continues to be long and short sightedness that is not being corrected.
As reported in the online British Journal of Ophthalmology, reports from 190 of the highest income countries indicate that the prevalence of blindness and chronic vision impairment has fallen during the period from 3.314 million to 2.736 million people globally. This is a decrease from 0.2% to 0.1% of the population.
The study also revealed that incidence of partial sightedness from uncorrected vision loss dropped from 25.362 million to 22.176 million, or 1.6% to 1% of the population. Substantiating past study results, women were found to be more likely than men to be affected by poor vision.
The researchers suggested that more effort is needed in the area of vision correction with adequate spectacles, and that improved screening is needed for diabetic retinopathy and the effects of aging on the eye.
Source: Prevalence and causes of vision loss in high-income countries and in Eastern and Central Europe: 1990-2010, Online First, DOI: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2013-304033