What is visual impairment?

Visual (or vision) impairment comes in many forms and guises. Defined as any sight loss that cannot be fully corrected without eyeglasses or contact lenses,1 vision impairment touches every age and every part of the world. Although 90 percent of the visually impaired live in developing countries, the developed world is hardly immune to eye disease:2

  • In the United States, more than 6 million people are visually impaired3
  • In the European Union, 31,700 per million people are visually impaired (3,000 per one million people of which are blind, and 28,700 per million people of which have low vision)4

While eyesight certainly worsens with age — 82 percent of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above — blindness doesn’t escape the young. It’s estimated that 1.4 million children around the world are blind.5

 


1 National Health Service of England
2 Global Data on Vision Impairment 2010, World Health Organization
3 National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute
4 Global Data on Vision Impairment 2010, World Health Organization
5 Vision 2020, The Right to Sight, World health Organization, World Health Organization