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Invited Commentary
March 2018

Reducing the Burden of Unilateral Vision Impairment and Blindness in Australia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Community Outreach and Policy, Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(3):248-249. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.6464

Vision impairment is a significant source of morbidity that affects multiple aspects of systemic well-being, including quality of life, cognition, mental health, and risk of falls, fractures, and other injuries.1 Unilateral vision impairment poses a further challenge, as the loss of binocular vision and stereopsis may further increase the risk of injury and loss of independence.2 While it is known that vision impairment is a global burden, there is currently insufficient information to fully characterize this burden. Recent reports by the US National Academy of Medicine1 and the World Health Organization3 have highlighted the difficulties of estimating the prevalence and causes of vision impairment on a national and international level, largely due to the lack of availability of population-based studies. Furthermore, most available studies do not differentiate between unilateral and bilateral vision impairment, despite the important differences in functioning that occur between these 2 types.