There are more than 7 billion people on our planet, and an estimated 2.5 billion of them suffer from the same health problem, regardless of their gender, age or ethnicity: vision impairment. Whether moderate or severe, vision impairment can have far-reaching social and economic impacts on the lives of individuals, their families, and the communities they call home.
So how do we make improvements to this problem? To address this epidemic, the Vision Impact Institute (VII) is bringing awareness to the underlying causes of vision impairment – and primary among those causes is uncorrected refractive error (URE). As information from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows, 43 percent of vision impairment is caused by leaving correctable conditions like myopia, hyperopia or astigmatisms untreated.
And these are not issues that only affect adults – in fact, a 2012 global study of URE revealed these are significantly higher among children in low- and middle-income countries. Children with uncorrected vision can be limited both in their educational and employment opportunities as they grow. Their vision (or lack of) is shaping their future before they can fully understand its impact, and if they do not have access to regular eye exams, it is unlikely they or their parents are aware that these issues can be easily fixed.
Imagine the change we can affect. If all estimated 2.5 billion with uncorrected refractive error were corrected, it would literally change the way they live their lives. That’s why the VII advocates for awareness and education initiatives in countries around the world globally and joins WHO in encouraging governments around the world to facilitate access to health care that prioritizes vision care services.
When more than a third of the world’s population is suffering from vision problems, it can be difficult to see a clear solution. The numbers are daunting. And this is a challenge which will require participation across government and non-government entities, across cultural barriers and national borders – but together, we can see the number of people affected by uncorrected vision decrease. Help us continue to spread the message about the impact of URE – and join us in Giving Vision a Voice.