Association between Vision Impairment and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • The number of individuals with vision impairment worldwide is increasing because of an ageing population.

  • The study aimed to systematically identify studies describing the association between vision impairment and mortality, and to assess the association between vision impairment and all-cause mortality.

  • Vision impairment was classified according to WHO reporting standards: mild vision impairment (visual acuity <6/12 to 6/18); moderate vision impairment (<6/18 to 6/60); and severe vision impairment or blindness (<6/60).

  • The systematic review identified 3845 articles, of which 28 studies, representing 30 cohorts (446,088 participants) from 12 countries.

  • The meta-analysis included 17 studies, representing 18 cohorts (47998 participants).

  • There was variability in the methods used to assess and report vision impairment.

  • The hazard for all-cause mortality was higher in people with vision impairment compared with those that had normal vision or mild vision impairment, and the magnitude of this effect increased with more severe vision impairment.

  • These findings have implications for promoting healthy longevity and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Publication date

June 21, 2021


The Lancet Global Health

Sponsor Institution

Wellcome Trust, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, National Institutes of Health, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Moorfields Eye Charity, National Institute for Health Research, Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, Sightsavers, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Seva Foundation, the British Council for the Prevention of Blindness, and Christian Blind Mission.


Joshua R Ehrlich, Jacqueline Ramke, David Macleod, Helen Burn, Chan Ning Lee, Justine H Zhang, William Waldock, Bonnielin K Swenor, Iris Gordon, Nathan Congdon, Matthew Burton, Jennifer R Evans
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