World Sight Day is an event to raise awareness about the need of having a strategy to prevent visual impairment through the development of funded programs. This year, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) will deliver data on the prevalence of avoidable blindness and visual impairment, its causes, as well as estimates until the year 2020 to sensitize the authorities and to raise public awareness about the need of a universal ocular exam prioritizing children, old people and diabetics.
About 285 million people have visual impairment in the world. Of these, 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.
Eighty percent of visual impairment is avoidable, treatable and/or preventable.
Ninety percent of blind people live in low-income countries.
It is estimated that around 19 million children have visual disability.
About 65% of all people with visual impairment are older than 50 years old, while this group represents just 20% of the world population. As the older population increases so does the need to have programs.
The prevention of blindness strategies are among the most profitable health actions.
During 2014, the Health Ministries of the region agreed to a plan at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to reduce blindness and avoidable visual deficiencies by the year 2019. According to PAHO, more than 26 million people suffer from visual impairment in the Americas, making it necessary to increase the coverage in eye care to the primary level, cataract surgery, and correction of refractive errors.