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Vision Atlas

1.1 billion people live with vision loss.

90% of people with vision loss are in low- and middle-income countries.


There are 1.1 billion people globally with vision loss.

In addition, at least 1 billion people live with eye health conditions needing on-going access to services to optimise their vision and ability to function in society.

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Vision loss is projected to affect 1.7 billion people in 2050.

Without a significant intervention and investment, eye care services are unlikely to cope with future needs without substantial efforts.

In addition, more than half the global population (4.8 billion people) are likely to need ongoing, regular access to eye care services to optimise their vision.

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90% of vision loss is avoidable.

At least 771 million people have vision loss that could be avoided:

  • 161 million people have distance refractive error
  • 100 million people have cataract
  • 510 million people have near refractive error
*Mild vision impairment has not been included here due to lack of cause data.
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Vision loss is driven by inequality.

There are differences in the ways different population groups are affected by vision loss.  Vision loss is far greater for those in low- and middle-income countries, among older people and in women.

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live in low- and middle-income countries


are aged over 50 years old


are women and girls

Impact and Economics

Good vision unlocks human potential.

Good vision is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Investing in eye health improves wellbeing, educational attainment, increases workforce and community participation. It provides greater economic opportunities for the individual and their community.

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Main 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)
  • Diabetic retinopathy (4 million people)

There are millions more living with conditions that need routine eye care services to prevent or delay vision loss.

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Evidence-based, cost-effective solutions already exist.

Eye tests, glasses and cataract operations could alleviate the vast majority of vision loss.

In the World Report on Vision, WHO called for integrated people-centred eye care as part of universal health coverage (UHC). This will make promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative eye care services accessible and affordable for all.

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