More than 285 million people worldwide have some form of visual impairment. 39 million of them are blind and approximately 90% of those affected by blindness and visual impairment live in the poorest countries in the world. Within the world’s low-and-middle income countries, blind children have a lifetime of increased morbidity ahead of them, with up to 60% of blind children dying within one year of becoming blind.
Whilst the prevalence of the primary causes of blindness, such as cataracts, are falling, the absolute number of blind people is increasing due to demographics in poorer countries where populations are growing and ageing. Yet a huge proportion of this blindness is either avoidable or curable. Yet millions remain blind because of pervasive treatment gaps.
Current tools for the prevention, treatment and cure of corneal blindness cannot be adequately deployed within the poorest countries in the world where blindness is at its most pervasive. These solutions are not simply not accessible or affordable and cannot be scaled to reach all of those who are in need. To solve blindness due to poverty, the world needs to develop sustainable long-term solutions that are accessible, affordable and scalable.