Vision impairment is a significant burden for the ageing in developing communities, according to a World Health Organisation report.
The report presents evidence of the ageing phenomenon along with the latest social and technological innovations in cost-effective, scalable solutions.
The prevalence of vision loss among the older population in the developing world is staggering, yet nearly three-quarters of distance vision impairment is avoidable. However, screening services in low-resource settings and rural areas are largely unavailable. Older adults, it reports, account for 65 per cent of all distance vision impairment and 82 per cent of all blindness.
Professor Brien Holden, from the University of New South Wales and CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision CRC, said the consequences of treatable blindness and vision impairment can be significant.
“Avoidable vision loss can lead to increased mortality and morbidity, job loss, diminished quality of life through reduced independence, mobility and confidence; social isolation and mental health decline,” said Professor Holden.
“There is a human resource and infrastructure deficit in many developing communities, which means people don’t have access to an eye examination or other diagnoses and treatment such as spectacles and surgery.
“The WHO forum enabled a range of health care professions to share innovative solutions. It was both inspiring and informative to see what other technologies and systems have been developed to improve the lives of ageing people who are in need.”
To read the report visit: www.who.int/kobe_centre/publications/gfiap_report/en