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October 13, 2008

Global BlindnessVISION 2020: The Right to Sight

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(10):1457. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.10.1457

Global blindness is a major public health problem. Worldwide, approximately 37 million people are blind, and an estimated 124 million have significant visual impairment.1 Home to 90% of blind individuals, developing countries bear a major burden of the condition. Seventy-five percent of cases of blindness are caused by cataract, trachoma, onchocerciasis, childhood blindness (xerophthalmia), and refractive errors that can be cured or prevented by available cost-effective interventions.2 In industrialized nations, such as the United States, the major cause of blindness is age-related macular degeneration, contributing to more than 50% of cases of blindness.3 Recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that nearly 153 million people have significant vision impairment from uncorrected refractive errors (not including presbyopia).

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