Original Research

Prevalence and causes of low vision and blindness worldwide

A.O . Oduntan
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 64, No 2 | a214 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v64i2.214 | © 2005 A.O . Oduntan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 December 2005 | Published: 19 December 2005

About the author(s)

A.O . Oduntan, Department of Optometry, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727 South Africa, South Africa

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A recent review of the causes and prevalence of low vision and blindness world wide is lack-ing. Such review is important for highlighting the causes and prevalence of visual impairment in the different parts of the world. Also, it is important in providing information on the types and magnitude of eye care programs needed in different parts of the world. In this article, the causes and prevalence of low vision and blind-ness in different parts of the world are reviewed and  the  socio-economic  and  psychological implications are briefly discussed. The review is based on an extensive review of the litera-ture using computer data bases combined with review of available national, regional and inter-national journals. Low vision and blindness are more prevalent in the developing countries than in the developed ones. Generally, the causes and prevalence of the conditions vary widely in different parts of the world and even within the same country. World wide, cataract is the most common cause of blindness and low vision among adults and elderly. Infectious diseases such as trachoma and onchocerciasis result-ing in low vision and blindness are peculiar to Africa, Asia and South America. Hereditary and congenital conditions are the most common causes of low vision and blindness among chil-dren worldwide.


Visual impairment, blindness, low vision, partial sight, prevalence, cataract, childhood blindness


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