Eye Health and Vision Care facts and figures



Global eye health and vision care

The Lancet Global Health Journal reported in 2017 that globally, 253 million people are vision impaired.

At a global level, the prevalence of blindness is five times higher in low income countries than in high income countries.

89% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries and 55% of visually impaired people are women.

Recent global estimates suggest that up to 80 per cent of vision impairment and blindness is avoidable through the appropriate implementation of cost-effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The American Journal of Ophthalmology estimates that Global VISION 2020 eye care program could prevent more than 100 million cases of blindness between 2000 and 2020

Global eye health and vision care will be the focus of #WorldSightDayAU from 9am to 11am on Thursday 12 October.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are three times more likely to be blind or vision impaired than non-Indigenous Australians.

Around half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes are not having an eye examination at the recommended frequency.

Ongoing, targeted effort is required to provide equity in eye health and vision care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health will be the focus of #WorldSightDayAU from 11am to 1pm on Thursday 12 October.

Prevention and Early Intervention

In Australia, 90 per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable and can be attributed to five main conditions – refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma.

The 2016 National Eye Health Survey found that more than 453,000 Australians are blind or vision impaired.

More than 50 per cent of participants with an eye condition weren’t aware of their condition before taking part in the 2016 National Eye Health Survey, highlighting the need for improved awareness.

Prevention and early intervention will be the focus of #WorldSightDayAU from 1pm to 3pm on Thursday 12 October.

Independence and Participation

In Australia, it is estimated that more than 453,000 people are blind or vision impaired.

The prevalence of vision impairment and blindness doubles with each decade over 60 years for non-Indigenous Australians.

With specialist supports and services, people who are blind or vision impaired can become or remain independent with the freedom to participate fully in the community.

Independence and participation will be the focus of #WorldSightDayAU from 11am to 1pm on Thursday 12 October.

About Jessica Gallagher

Jess Gallagher was diagnosed with a rare eye disease, cone dystrophy, when she was in high school, causing her to lose much of her eyesight. She is now classified as legally blind.

At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, she became the first and only Australian athlete (Olympic or Paralympic) to medal at both Summer and Winter Games when she won bronze in the 1km Time Trial. The multi-talented athlete has represented Australia in 3 sports including alpine skiing, athletics and track cycling.

Jess is a fully qualified Osteopath, Board Director at Vision 2020 Australia and an ambassador for a number of not-for-profit organisations.

About World Sight Day

This year World Sight Day will be on Thursday 12 October 2017 and the international theme for World Sight Day 2017 is Make Vision Count. Vision 2020 Australia will be using social media and the #WorldSightDayAU hashtag to share information about eye health and vision care, ensuring vision counts through highlighting the important work of the sector and our members.

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment, and is held on the second Thursday in October each year.

Established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2000, World Sight Day is the main advocacy event for raising awareness about blindness and vision impairment for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative created by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).


Gail Conlon, Vision 2020 Australia I

03 9656 2020 or 0429 019 776.