The scope of worldwide blindness is daunting.
There are 39 million blind individuals worldwide, and 285 million with some form of visual impairment—and 90 percent of them live in poverty in the developing world. Up to 60 percent of blind children die within one year, and a blind adult will only live two-thirds as long as sighted peers.
Four out of every five blind person could have easily been prevented or cured at any modern eye clinic, but those in develolping nations lack access to modern eye care—sometimes due to expense, but most often because there aren’t enough doctors. While the United States has 61 ophthalmologists per million people, many developing countries have only one or two per million.
The economic impact of blindness is staggering: for every blind person, 2.5 individuals are lost from the workforce as others must stop work or school to care for their vision-impaired relatives. Lost productivity adds up to $2.7 trillion each year.*