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Presbyopia

Visual impairment in working-age individuals is a growing global health concern

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A new study on the trends of visual impairment prevalence and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in working-age individuals from 1990 to 2019 concluded that the number of prevalent cases globally has increased substantially, with discernible unfavorable patterns in developed regions.

“The findings support the idea that visual impairment in working-age individuals is a growing global health challenge,” reported the researchers, adding that a better understanding of its epidemiology may facilitate the development of appropriate measures for prevention and treatment from both medical and social perspectives.

The cross-sectional, population-based study used data for individuals of working age (15-64 years) from 204 countries and territories obtained from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study. Researchers conducted the data analysis between May 1 and 10, 2023. For the study, visual impairment was defined as visual acuity of less than 6/18 (20/60) or near visual acuity of less than 6/12 (20/40) distance equivalent as determined by Snellen chart. Trends of visual impairment prevalence, DALYs, and corresponding estimated annual percent changes from 1990 to 2019 were stratified according to region, nation, and sociodemographic index.

Results revealed 437,539, 484 prevalent cases of visual impairment globally in 2019, representing an increase of 91.46% from 1990. Over 3 decades, visual impairment-associated DALYs increased from 7,601,852 to 12,563,276. Among the 5 SDI groups, the low-SDI group had the largest increase in DALYs (898,167 in 1990 to 1,634,122 in 2019). Regionally, the greatest increase in prevalence was observed in Eastern Europe. Among all countries and territories, Nepal had the highest national prevalence of visual impairment per 100,000 population in 2019, while South Sudan had the highest DALY rate per 100,000 population.

Reference:
Chen J, Yang C, Zheng W, et al. Global, regional, and national epidemiology of visual impairment in working-age individuals, 1990-2019. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online December 07, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2023.5617

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