A comparison of countries in the study shows that, based on the available data, UK has the fifth lowest prevalence of blindness in the over 50s out of the 50 countries surveyed, with 0.52% of men and women in that age group affected. Belgium had the lowest prevalence at 0.46%.
However, in terms of the percentage of the population with moderate to severe vision impairment (MSVI), the UK ranked in the bottom half of the table with 6.1%, a higher prevalence than non-EU countries such as Andorra, Serbia, and Switzerland.
The research also predicts that the contribution of the surveyed countries to the world’s vision impaired is expected to lessen slightly by 2020, although the number of people in these nations with impaired sight will rise overall to 69 million due to a rising overall population.
Professor Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University’s Vision and Eye Research Unit, said: “Vision impairment is of great importance for the quality of life and for the socioeconomic and public health of societies and countries.
“Overcoming barriers to services which would address uncorrected refractive error could reduce the burden of vision impairment in high-income countries by around half. This is an important public health issue even in the wealthiest of countries and more research is required into better treatments, better implementation of the tools we already have, and ongoing surveillance of the problem.
“This work has exposed gaps in the global data, given that many countries have not formally surveyed their populations for eye disease. That is the case for the UK and a more robust understanding of people’s needs would help bring solutions.”
The work by the study team contributes to the wider Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, a comprehensive regional and global research program of disease burden that assesses mortality and disability from major diseases, injuries, and risk factors.
For more details click on the link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-311258