Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Priority eye diseases

Main causes of visual impairment

Some of these diseases, such as trachoma and river blindness, are prevalent primarily in less developed areas of the world where there are also specific environmental hazards.

In many middle-income and industrialized countries, three other eye conditions have emerged as potential threats to the status of sight of their populations. The increase of diabetes among many population groups has caused diabetic retinopathy to be added to the priority list, while glaucoma, an eye disease known for centuries, remains on the public health agenda due to difficulties in its early diagnosis and frequent necessity of life-long treatment. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) ranks third among the global causes of visual impairment with a blindness prevalence of 8,7%. It is the primary cause of visual deficiency in industrialized countries. An emerging important cause of visual impairment is uncorrected refractive errors.

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