Hyderabad, Feb 21: The World Health Organization on Tuesday called for accelerated action to provide quality, affordable, integrated and people-centered comprehensive eye care for everyone to address the increasing burden of vision impairment and blindness in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
"Nearly 30 per cent of the 2.2 billion people living with vision-impaired or blindness globally, are in WHO South-East Asia Region. This huge burden is unacceptable, as nearly half the global vision impairment could have been prevented or are yet to be addressed," said Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh while inaugurating a high-level meeting of member countries on 'Integrated People-Centred Eye Care' here in Hyderabad.
The increased prevalence of vision impairment and blindness in the region among people of all socio-economic group also tracks with the rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes. In 2019, the region was home to 87.6 million people with diabetes. Of them, 30.6 million had diabetic retinopathy (eye disease caused by high blood sugar), and 9.6 million had sight-threatening retinopathy (blindness caused by untreated diabetic retinopathy).