The Vision Loss Expert Group works with NASA to display its work on global vision loss at the biggest eye research event, ARVO, USA
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) holds its annual global eye research conference in Baltimore, USA this year, (7-11 May 2017). The latest estimates for global blindness and vision impairment will be presented by The Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) in scientific sessions that includes a Special Interest Group entitled “Global Prevalence of Blindness and Vision Impairment: Magnitude, Temporal Trends, and Projections: are we on track to meet VISION 2020 and WHO Global Action Plan goals and beyond?” on 9 May.
A collaboration with NASA with sponsorship by Brien Holden Vision Institute, The Thea Foundation, Ocular Services on Demand, EyeKor, Anglia Ruskin University and support by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, will display an eight foot tall globe of the World onto which is projected global, regional and country blind and vision impairment data from the group, with special feature videos from core members of the VLEG.
The Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) continue to provide data and collaborate with the GBD Study in preparation and validation of GBD Outputs from 2010 to 2016. The initial tranche of VLEG data and analyses (together with other GBD data) were released in the first ever dedicated special issue of The Lancet in December 2012, with many subsequent related publications in The Lancet and other major international journals.
The VLEG was requested to supply blindness prevalence data to National Geographic magazine which published a feature on this in their September 2016 issue.
1. VLEG prevalence data have been used in a recent analysis of economic cost of blindness in Europe. A paper entitled “The Economic Impact of Blindness in Europe” by Usha Chakravarthy, Eliana Biundo, Rasit Omer Saka, Christina Fasser, Rupert Bourne, and Julie-Anne Little, will be published in early 2017 in Ophthalmic Epidemiology.
2. VLEG findings were used in the global analyses of eye-health economics carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers’s economic reports ‘Price of Sight’ and ‘Investing in Vision’ (Feb 2013) . This economic report calculates the costs and benefits of achieving the IAPB’s VISION 2020 goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020. It highlights the importance of eye-health for economic prosperity. Key findings include: “In developing countries, an additional investment of only US$2.20 per capita per year for 10 years is required to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment” and “In developing countries, the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment outweigh the costs by a factor of 4 to 1”. The report identifies economic incentives for other governments and third-sector organisations to invest in eye-health programmes, improving public health and economic productivity, as seen, for example, in the draft Eye Health Strategy by Vision2020 Australia for 2014 to 2019 (May 2013).
The IAPB launched the IAPB Vision Atlas on the occasion of its 10th General Assembly in Durban, South Africa in October 2016. At this meeting members of the VLEG were involved in a keynote speech that introduced the latest 2015 prevalence estimates for blindness and vision impairment and met at a symposium that discussed the regional and causal breakdown of the data.
The IAPB Vision Atlas brings together the latest data and evidence related to avoidable blindness and sight loss; tells the story behind the numbers; presents solutions, and good practice; highlights the opportunities to eliminate some blinding conditions; and warns of emerging threats that, if ignored, could reverse the progress that has been made in reducing prevalence over the past 25 years.
The IAPB Vision Atlas is animated around two major data sets: national indicators based on the WHO Global Action Plan (2014-19)(GAP); Data and prevalence estimates from the Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) data.
The IAPB Vision Atlas website can found at atlas.iapb.org.