Top Leading Causes of Blindness Around The Globe

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Vision loss and blindness are ongoing global issues faced by individuals around the globe. Currently, more than 1.1 Billion people around the globe are living with vision loss – a number that’s expected to grow to 1.7 billion people by 2050 without significant efforts and investment. Surprisingly, many individuals who face severe vision loss or blindness experience these issues due to a lack of preventative care.

Currently there are:

671 million people living with refractive error
510 million people living with near vision impairment
161 million people living with distance vision impairment or blindness

For many of these people, sight can be restored with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. However, without treatment vision issues may worsen. 

Top Causes of Blindness Around The Globe 

Of all the known causes associated with vision loss or blindness, uncorrected refractive error is the leading cause. Although restoring one’s sight may be possible, a lack of prescription eyewear or surgical correction can lead to blindness.

The second largest cause of vision loss and the largest cause of blindness are cataracts. Cataracts refer to clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Currently, more than 100 million people experience vision loss from cataracts. Of these people, more than 17 million are blind and 83 million are experiencing vision impairment. Many of these people may be able to have their sight restored with cataract surgery. 

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is the third-largest cause of vision loss. Of the more than 8 million people who have vision loss due to AMD, 1.9 million are blind and 6.2 million are experiencing moderate to severe vision impairment. For each individual that experiences vision issues from AMD, there are much more living with early-stage AMD who need comprehensive, high quality vision care to prevent future vision loss.

Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy rank as the fourth and fifth leading causes of vision loss, with nearly 8 million people experiencing impairment due to glaucoma and over 4 million people living with vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

Other Causes Of Vision Loss

While the leading causes of vision impairment around the globe may contribute to the vast majority of individual cases, many more causes still remain. Currently, 56 million people are experiencing vision loss due to other causes. These include conditions such as trachoma, onchocerciasis, corneal opacities, myopia macular degeneration, and other retinopathies. Not all causes of vision loss are treatable, but many of them are preventable. 

The Path Forward To A Future Everyone Can See

Although there are many causes that can lead to vision loss or blindness, the most common causes can often be addressed with a simple solution: preventive care. A regular eye exam and pair of glasses can help protect an individual’s eye health, identify underlying vision issues, and prevent the onset of vision loss and blindness.

However, for the more than 1.1 billion people experiencing a vision issue around the globe preventive care is not an option. Whether it’s too far, too expensive, or simply something they don’t know they need – vision care and glasses are out of reach. OneSight is on a mission to change that, forging a path forward towards a future where everyone, everywhere can get the vision care they need. 

Together, we can help the world see. Learn more at



Adelson, J., Bourne, R.R.A., Briant, P.S., Flaxman, S., Taylor, H., Jonas, J.B., et al., Causes of blindness and vision impairment in 2020 and trends over 30 years, and prevalence of avoidable blindness in relation to VISION 2020: the Right to Sight: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet Global Health. 2020. Accessed via the IAPB Vision Atlas (