Blindness and vision impairment prevention

12 October 2017: World Sight Day

On the second Thursday of October, on the occasion of World Sight Day, WHO joined partners around the world to issue a call to “Make Vision Count”. The underlying message is for countries to be aware of the extent of blindness and vision impairment so that they know where they stand and can better address this growing public health and development challenge. Around 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide, of which 36 million are blind. The vast majority live in low-income settings. More than 80% are aged 50 years or above. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors and un-operated cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. More than 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014–2019

Globally, 253 million people are visually impaired, of whom 36 million are blind. A rapidly ageing population means that the impact of vision loss is expected to rise. Many people who are visually impaired face a lifetime of inequality, as they often have poorer health and face barriers to education and employment. It is estimated that 80% of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured. Countries should provide high-quality and affordable eye care services for all and educate people about the importance of eye disease prevention and care. In 2013, the World Health Assembly approved Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014-2019, a roadmap for Member States, WHO and partners to achieve a measurable reduction of 25% of avoidable visual impairments by 2019.

fact buffet


253 millionpeople are visually impaired



84%of visual impairment results from chronic eye diseases

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1.4 millionchildren could benefit from vision rehabilitation

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  • Access the resolutions
    Since 1998, a number of World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board resolutions have addressed the issue of blindness.


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Ms. Laura Sminkey
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