Does the Current Global Health Agenda Lack Vision?

Despite the achievements of the VISION 2020 global initiative, significant economic and societal consequences remain due to vision impairment and blindness, which have not been adequately addressed by the global health community. There is a lack of reliable global data on vision health, particularly in childhood blindness and vision impairment. Historically, vision has been poorly represented in global health budgeting and financing, reflecting its lack of prioritization on the global health agenda. To address the increasing global burden of ocular disease driven by an aging and changing population, greater investment is needed in cost-effective strategies for prevention and treatment. Visual impairment is the third leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting around 1 billion, with the majority in LMICs. Although VISION 2020 made progress in controlling and eradicating infectious causes of blindness, the overall prevalence of preventable vision impairment has increased instead of declining. Many national health plans in low- and middle-income countries do not include eye care, and there has been insufficient financial investment in global vision health. These findings emphasize the urgency to prioritize and refocus efforts on global vision health to effectively address the growing burden of eye diseases worldwide.

Publication date

January 11, 2023


Global Health: Science and Practice

Sponsor Institution

Research to Prevent Blindness, National Institutes of Health


Sam L. Forrest, Carmel L. Mercado, Cyril M. Engmann, Andrew W. Stacey, Luxme Hariharan, Sadaf Khan and Michelle T. Cabrera
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