National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey, 2019
The National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey was released by the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at the 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare.
The survey was conducted by the AIIMS, Delhi and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The report was released in October 10, 2019. The survey was conducted between 2015 and 2019.
India is the first country to launch National Program for Control of Blindness in 1976. The aim of the program is currently to reduce the blindness prevalence to 0.3% by 2020.
Key findings of the report
- Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in people above 50 years. OF these around 93% of blindness cases and 96.2% of visual impairment cases are avoidable
- The prevalence of blindness in India is 1.99%. Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh has the highest population suffering from blindness. Around 3.67% of the district are blind and 21.82% suffer visual impairment.
- Blindness is more pronounced among illiterates as compared to literates. Around 3.23% illiterates are blind and 0.43% literates are blind
- Also, blindness is more prevalent in rural population (2.14%) as compared to urban (1.8%)
Causes of blindness according to the report
- The causes included
- Aphakia – Absence of lens in the eye
- Untreated non-infectious corneal opacity-scarring of cornea
- Cataract related surgical complication was the second highest cause for blindness.
- The outcomes of cataract surgery are not good everywhere. Around 40% of cataract were done in government facilities. Rest of the surgeries took place in private and non – profit facilities. Of these, only 57.8% saw good visual outcome.
- Cost was the biggest barrier in accessing cataract surgeries. Around 22.1% of blindness was caused because of cost as a barrier.
- Around 22.1% of blindness were caused due to lack of awareness
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