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Today, on World Sight Day, take a moment to think about this fact: more than a billion people cannot see well because they lack access to glasses. Without the ability to see clearly, daily personal activities, interactions with others, the ability to access public services, find work, earn a living and study are all impacted. In an attempt to raise awareness about this, 2020's World Sight Day's theme is Hope In Sight.

One of the activities the organisers of World Sight Day ask of us is that we familiarise ourselves with the data on vision impairment and vision loss in different countries and regions around the world. Here are 3 facts that we think are worth noting:

  • In Australia, a gap in eye health and vision exists for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The rate of blindness and vision loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is three times that of non-Indigenous Australians.
  • The ten countries with the highest number of people with vision loss are India, China, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, USA and Mexico.** It's to be expected that countries with large populations with have more people with vision loss.
  • But take a look at the list of ten countries with the highest rates of vision loss are: Nepal, United Republic of Tanzania, Niger, Zimbabwe, India, Lesotho, Eswatini, South African, Namibia and Botswana.** It's obvious that one particular sub-region (i.e. Southern Africa) is over-represented on this list.

For more information about World Sight Day 2020, visit the IAPB website and check out the inspiring photographs by professional and amateur photographs participating in the #HopeInSight photography competition.

** Citation: Bourne, Rupert, Jaimie Adelson, Seth Flaxman, Paul S. Briant, Hugh R. Taylor, Robert J. Casson, et al. Trends in Prevalence of Blindness and Distance and Near Vision Impairment Over 30 Years and Contribution to the Global Burden of Disease in 2020. The Lancet Global Health, 2020. Advanced online publication doi:10.2139/ssrn.3582742