Key facts

Ten key facts about uncorrected refractive error and the work of Vision Aid Overseas:

1

10% (670 million) of the world’s population are visually impaired because they cannot get the glasses they need.

2

153 million people (2% of the world’s population / 23% of the total number of those who are visually impaired) cannot see properly because they are short- or long-sighted – conditions that can easily be treated with a pair of prescription glasses.  

3

Over half a billion (517 million / 8% of the world’s population 77% of the total number of those who are visually impaired) older people have blurred vision that effects close-work such as reading or sewing. This is due to ageing of the eye, a very normal process, and can easily be treated with reading glasses.

13 million children around the world need glasses. Many of these children risk missing their education because they can’t see well enough to learn.   

Women account for two-thirds (447 million / 7% of the world’s population) of the people who are visually impaired because they cannot get the glasses they need.

90% of people who are visually impaired because they cannot get the glasses they need, live in low and middle income countries. 

The main reasons people cannot get glasses in low-and middle-income countries are: a lack of trained eye care professionals; inadequate facilities to get an eye test and to manufacture glasses; and because the high cost of glasses if often too expensive for the average citizen. 

 8

At least 45 million people (0.7% of the world’s population / 7% of the total number of those who are visually impaired) who need glasses are of working age; these people risk being unable to work because they cannot see well enough.  

 9

Every year people lose money and economies suffer because people are not able to work due to their poor vision. The only research into this burden looked solely at productivity loss based on the person’s unemployment and assumed further part-time unemployment of a carer. This burden was calculated to be $768.09 per person per annum. This is the equivalent of £476 per person per annum in the UK, which is approximately four times the cost of providing an eye test and glasses every year.

10 

Vision Aid Overseas was founded in 1985 - we have been combatting visual impairment and poverty for 28 years.

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