Half as many cases of blindness in high-income countries
Wednesday, April 9 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
Rates of blindness have fallen by 50% in high-income countries since 1980, and the primary cause has changed from cataract to AMD, according to a study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
In addition, the prevalence of uncorrected refractive errors has decreased by 38% and remains the leading cause of moderate and severe vision impairment. The study reports that the prevalence of this type of impairment and blindness in older people was markedly lower in high-income regions than in global populations.
Eastern and Central Europe are the only regions in which cataracts remain the most common cause of blindness. Elsewhere, AMD has been the most frequent cause of blindness since 2010. The third most common cause of blindness, even in highly developed countries, was refractive error, followed by glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
The investigators also note that the epidemic of diabetes will soon take its toll on vision, with as many as 100 million people being expected to develop diabetic retinopathy.