Avoidable Blindness

Around the world, 1.1 billion people are living with vision loss.

90% of vision loss is in low- and middle-income countries.

90% of all vision loss is preventable or treatable.

In Canada and other developed nations, there’s help for people struggling with vision problems; if you have inoperable blindness, you can lead a meaningful life. But in developing countries, where health care is scarce or unaffordable, losing your sight is far more disastrous than simply not being able to see.

Loss of sight can have devastating consequences on individuals, families, communities and entire countries.

Why is blindness so prevalent in developing countries? There are many causes, including poverty, inadequate access to clean water and malnutrition. In parts of the world where it’s a struggle to simply survive, many people have neither a healthy living environment nor access to affordable medical care. If living conditions threaten sight, it’s often impossible to prevent or treat vision loss. People who live in India, Africa and South America are five to 10 times more likely to go blind than those living in developed countries.

There is good news: an astonishing 90 percent of blindness can be prevented or cured. This is what is known as “avoidable blindness.” With your generous support, we can end avoidable blindness!

Causes of Avoidable Blindness

Other Causes of Avoidable Blindness

There are many other causes of avoidable blindness, including Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and childhood blindness (such as vitamin A deficiency).

  • Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) is an insect-borne disease found in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Although it remains a serious problem and has caused an estimated half million cases of blindness, global initiatives have succeeded in dramatically controlling the incidence of the infection.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration affects many older people and ranks as the third most common cause of blindness. Although risk factors include tobacco use, sunlight exposure and genetic tendencies, age is the main cause. While there is no cure, treatments can slow the progress of the disease.
  • Childhood blindness refers to a variety of diseases and conditions that occur in young children that can lead to blindness. These vary from region to region, with a main cause being vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which is primarily found in developing countries. Vitamin A supplementation is a simple and cheap method of preventing blindness from VAD.

These are just a few of the causes of blindness. To see how you can help Operation Eyesight prevent blindness, click here.