Present challenges in the global prevention of blindness

Aust N Z J Ophthalmol. 1992 May;20(2):89-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.1992.tb00717.x.


Cataract is responsible for 50% of world blindness, with at present an estimated backlog of 13.5 million cases in need of surgery. Low-cost cataract surgery must be made more available in developing countries, making use of alternative approaches for outpatient surgery and optimal management of available resources. Trachoma control needs to be targeted at the worst affected areas in endemic countries, with more emphasis on behavioural, educational and community aspects of the disease. Vitamin A deficiency and xerophthalmia control are becoming matters of maternal and child health care, with early intervention during infancy in view of the mortality issue. There are good prospects for the prevention of blindness from onchocerciasis, through the availability of ivermectin, but large-scale distribution schemes are still needed in most of the African countries concerned. The early detection and management of open-angle glaucoma still poses a major problem in developing countries, and further development of appropriate technology is needed in this field. Another area where more efforts are needed is ocular trauma, which is commonly the cause of unilateral loss of vision. General preventive measures must be enforced and better training provided to health personnel to deal competently with such cases, in order to prevent late complications. Diabetes, finally, is on the increase in many developing countries, giving rise to problems in dealing effectively with the ensuing retinopathy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control*
  • Cataract / complications
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Developing Countries
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / prevention & control
  • Eye Infections, Parasitic / prevention & control
  • Eye Injuries / complications
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Glaucoma / complications
  • Glaucoma / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / complications
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / prevention & control
  • Trachoma / complications
  • Trachoma / prevention & control
  • World Health Organization
  • Xerophthalmia / complications
  • Xerophthalmia / prevention & control