The Global Burden of Blindness and Visual Impairment
Blindness and visual impairment are major public health problems that affect millions of people around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an estimated 253 million people with moderate or severe visual impairment and 36 million people who are blind. The vast majority of these people live in low- and middle-income countries.
The leading causes of blindness and visual impairment are:
- Cataracts: Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye that can cause blurry vision, glare, and eventually blindness. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, affecting an estimated 246 million people.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD is a disease that damages the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, the nerve that carries visual information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
- Uncorrected refractive errors: Uncorrected refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, are the leading cause of vision impairment in the world. Uncorrected refractive errors can cause blurry vision, difficulty reading, and difficulty driving.
Blindness and visual impairment can have a significant impact on individuals and society. People with blindness and visual impairment may have difficulty performing everyday tasks, such as reading, cooking, and getting around. They may also have difficulty participating in social activities and employment. Blindness and visual impairment can also lead to social isolation, depression, and anxiety.
There are a number of things that can be done to prevent blindness and visual impairment, including:
- Early detection and treatment of eye diseases
- Provision of eyeglasses and contact lenses to people with uncorrected refractive errors
- Public education about the importance of eye health
- Economic development and poverty reduction
The prevention of blindness and visual impairment is a complex challenge that requires a multi-pronged approach. However, by working together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world.
In addition to the causes mentioned above, blindness and visual impairment can also be caused by:
- Injuries, such as those sustained in car accidents or falls
- Infections, such as conjunctivitis or trachoma
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin A deficiency
- Some medications
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
The impact of blindness and visual impairment can be far-reaching. People with blindness and visual impairment may have difficulty performing everyday tasks, such as reading, cooking, and getting around. They may also have difficulty participating in social activities and employment. Blindness and visual impairment can also lead to social isolation, depression, and anxiety.
There are a number of things that can be done to help people with blindness and visual impairment. These include:
- Providing access to assistive devices, such as Braille readers and screen readers
- Providing training in independent living skills
- Providing employment opportunities
- Providing social support
JulEYE is an annual national eye health awareness month that aims to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss in Australia. Led by the Eye Surgeons Foundation of Australia, JulEYE raises community awareness of eye health issues, funds vision research projects, and supports international and domestic development projects related to eye care.
Maple Community Services x JulEYE
At Maple Community Services, we are proud to support JulEYE that aims to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss in Australia. We recognise the challenges and barriers that people with blindness and low vision face in their daily lives, and we are committed to providing them with high-quality support services that cater to their specific needs and goals. We believe that everyone deserves to live a fulfilling and independent life, regardless of their ability or disability.
Join us in supporting this worthy cause and help make a difference in the lives of millions of Australians who are affected by blindness and vision impairment.
To learn more about JulEYE, visit https://juleye.com.au/
To learn more about our services, contact us today!