Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Two. The urgent need for action

Chapter One. Chronic diseases: causes and health impact

Visual impairment

Visual impairment and blindness are examples of chronic conditions whose impact is not captured by death data. In 2002, more than 161 million people were visually impaired, of whom 124 million people had low vision and 37 million were blind as a result of eye diseases. More than 80% of all blindness is in people 50 years of age or older, and women have a significantly higher risk than men.

The highest prevalence of blindness is in the African Region where it reaches 9% among people aged 50 years and older. The lowest prevalence of blindness occurs in the highest income countries of the Americas, South-East Asia and Europe, where it is between 0.4% and 0.6% of people aged 50 years and older.

Projected global chronic disease burden (DALYs),* worldwide, numbers and rates by age and sex, 2005:
* Shown to rounded numbers. Components may not add to total exactly owing to rounding.