GBVI – Regional Estimates of Distance-Vision Loss

Rupert Bourne - Vision Loss Expert Group

Serge Resnikoff

Peter Ackland - IAPB

Regional estimates of distance-vision loss

GBM roundelThe VLEG have estimated the number and prevalence of distance-vision loss for all 21 GBD regions. The main results are summarised for each of the 21 regions for the year 2015 in the Regional Summaries.

Regional estimates of the numbers

Three Asian regions are home to 62% of the world’s persons with visual impairment – South Asia 73 million; East Asia 59 million and South-East Asia 24 million. Collectively a little over half (51%) of the world’s total population live in these three regions, which demonstrates the higher prevalence of visual impairment found in these parts of the world.
At the other end of the scale, the five high-income regions account for 14% of the world’s population but only 11% of persons with visual impairment.

Regional estimates of prevalence

The age-standardised prevalence is a good measure to compare regional variations, as illustrated in Figure 3 below.
The age-standardised prevalence (all ages) for visual impairment for the world was 3.38%.
The South Asia region had the highest prevalence at 5.74%, more than four times that seen in the High-Income regions (North America 1.39%, Asia Pacific 1.39% and Western Europe 1.17%).

Regional gender estimates

The higher age-standardised prevalence rates amongst women for visual impairment was observed in all 21 GBD regions, as shown in the 21 Regional Summaries.

Interestingly, the gender ratio was highest in two High-Income regions (1.19 in Asia Pacific and 1.16 in Western Europe). The lowest gender ratios were seen in less economically developed parts of the world (Tropical Latin America 1.01, and Central Latin America, Southern Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia – all 1.02). This may be attributable to residual confounding, despite the controls of the age-standardised calculations, due to longer survival of women and hence over-representation in very high ages, particularly seen in higher-income countries.

Figure 3 – The age-standardised prevalence (all ages – 2015) of Visual Impairment (Blindness + MSVI) for the 21 regions of the world in the year 2015



Age-standardised prevalence (all ages) for visual impairment for the world was 3.38%


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