WHO Launches First World Report On Vision
- Recently, World Health Organisation (WHO) released its first world report on vision, addressing the increasing eye problems across the globe.
- To raise awareness of the global magnitude and impact of eye conditions and vision impairment.
- To draw attention to effective strategies to respond to eye care needs
- To take stock of progress, and identify the main challenges facing the field of eye care
- To make recommendations for action to be implemented by all countries to improve eye care.
Key Findings of the Report
- Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness.
- More than 1 billion people worldwide are living with vision impairment because they do not get the care they need for conditions like short and far sightedness, glaucoma and cataract.
- Rates of cataract and trachomatous trichiasis are higher among women, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
- The burden of eye conditions is far greater in people living in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations.
- Vision impairment in low and middle-income regions is estimated to be four times higher than in high-income regions.
- Low- and middle-income regions of western and eastern sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have rates of blindness that are eight times higher than in all high-income countries.
- US$14.3 billion is needed to address the backlog of 1 billion people living with vision impairment or blindness.
- The report hailed India’s National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB). NPCB has provided cataract surgery to 6.5 million people- a cataract surgical rate of over 6,000 per million population in 2016-17.
Causes of Rising Vision Impairment
- Due to weak or poorly integrated eye care services, many people lack access to routine checks that can detect conditions and lead to the delivery of appropriate preventive care or treatment.
- Eating habits are also a factor, since, in type 2 diabetes, the number of retinopathy cases increase.
- Increased time spent indoors and increased “near work” activities are leading to more people suffering from myopia. Increased outdoor time can reduce this risk.
Different Eye Disorders
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- Young children with early onset severe impairment can experience delayed motor, language, emotional, social and cognitive development with lifelong consequences.
- School-age children with vision impairment can also experience lower levels of educational achievement and self-esteem.
- Vision impairment severely impacts quality of life (QoL) among adult populations.
- Adults with vision impairment often have lower rates of workforce participation and productivity and higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population.
- In the case of older adults, vision impairment can contribute to social isolation.
- It can lead to higher rates of violence and abuses, including bullying and sexual violence are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents and can find it more difficult to manage other health conditions.
- Vision impairment also poses an enormous global financial burden as it impacts the loss of productivity and efficieny.
International Initiative towards Eye Care
Universal Eye Health: Global Action Plan (2014 – 2019)
VISION 2020: The Right to Sight
National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI)
- Integrated Eye Health System: The report sets out concrete proposals to address challenges in eye care. The key proposal is to make integrated people centred eye care, embedded in health systems and based on strong primary health care, the care model of choice and scale it up widely
- Integrated People-Centred Eye Care (IPCEC): It seeks to stimulate action in countries to address these challenges by proposing integrated people-centred eye care (IPCEC) as an approach to health system strengthening that builds the foundation for service delivery to address population needs
- Universal Health Coverage: IPCEC will also contribute to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3): “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
- The government not only in India but across the globe should reorient the model of care based on a strong primary care by engaging and empowering the people and communities in order to raise awareness about eye care needs.
- It should focus on creating an enabling environment, specifically the inclusion of eye care in national health strategic plans, the integration of relevant eye care relevant data within health information systems, and the planning of the eye care workforce according to population needs.
- In addition, International organizations, donors, and the public and private sectors must work together to provide the long-term investment and management capacity to scale up integrated people-centred eye care.