Photo shows an eye care training porgramme in SomaliaBlindness and visual impairment remain a public health problem in many Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.  As per the latest estimate, around 40.5 million people in the Region are visually impaired and around 5 million are blind. Visual impairment and blindness and their causes have been estimated, globally and by WHO region from recent data. Recent global data indicate that 82% of blind people and 65% of those with visual impairment are over the age of 50. The major causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive errors (43%) and cataract (33%). The main cause of blindness is cataract, followed by glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, refractive errors, trachoma and childhood blindness.

In order to overcome this issue, WHO is working closely with Member States and partners to eliminate avoidable causes of blindness by developing and implementing the national comprehensive eye care under the global initiative of VISION 2020.