Global burden of eye disease

Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) logo

The Global Vision Database has been established by an international consortium of 100 ophthalmologists and optometrists with an interest in the epidemiology of eye disease.

This group (called the Vision Loss Expert Group, VLEG) was created originally to assist the Global Burden of Disease Study in its quest for population-based data on prevalence of vision loss in order to prepare estimates of Disability-Adjusted Life Years for all diseases, and has been coordinated by Professor Rupert Bourne since 2008.

The research is supported by several awards including Brien Holden Vision Institute, Fondation Théa, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Sightsavers and The Fred Hollows Foundation, and is often covered in national and international media.

The overall goal of the Global Vision Database (GVD) is to develop and deploy new and improved evidence on the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment and its causes, on intervention coverage, to inform and influence global priorities and programmes.

The main purposes of the GVD are to:

  1. provide estimates for the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment and risk factors globally and to make these accessible
  2. advise the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organisations on the most appropriate methods and assumptions for their global, regional and country level eye health epidemiological estimates
  3. advise researchers and public health officials on the different issues involved in the estimation of cause-specific blindness and vision impairment
  4. act as repository of high quality population-based studies of blindness and vision impairment data, in order to heighten accuracy of estimates and to securely preserve datasets into the future.

Working with the World Health Organization, the Group has modelled the change in cause-specific prevalence of vision loss over time. Recognising the importance of this global database of vision loss data and the contribution of the Group's members (many of whom are the chief investigators of included studies), the Group has been funded to maintain the database. It continues to be accessible through a visualisation project called Vision Atlas.

Principal Investigator: Professor Rupert Bourne

Downloadable resources

Recent publications

Keel, S., Müller, A., Block, S., Bourne, R., Burton, M. J., Chatterji, S., He, M., Lansingh, V. C., Mathenge, W., Mariotti, S., Muirhead, D., Rabiu, M. M., Ravilla, T. D., Resnikoff, S., Silva, J. C., Tapply, I., Vos, T., Wang, N., Cieza, A., 2021. Keeping an eye on eye care: monitoring progress towards effective coverage. The Lancet Global Health, 9(10), e1460-e1464. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00212-6

Marques, A. P., Ramke, J., Cairns, J., Butt, T., Zhang, J. H., Muirhead, D., Jones, I., Ah Tong, B. A. M., Swenor, B. K., Faal, H., Bourne, R. R. A, Frick, K .D., Burton, M. J. 2021. Global economic productivity losses from vision impairment and blindness. EClinicalMedicine. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100852

Burton, M. J., Ramke, J., Marques, A. P., Bourne, R. R. A., Congdon, N., Jones, I., et al., 2021. The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020. The Lancet Global Health, 9(4), pp. e489-e551. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30488-5

Adelson, J. D., Bourne, R. R. A., Briant, P. S., Flaxman, S. R., Taylor, H. R. B., Jonas, J. B. et al., 2021. 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. The Lancet Global Health, 9(2), pp. e144-e160. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30489-7

Bourne, R., Steinmetz, J. D., Flaxman, S., Briant, P. S., Taylor, H. R., Resnikoff, S. et al., 2021. Trends in prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment over 30 years: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. The Lancet Global Health, 9(2), pp. e130-e143. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30425-3

Abbafati, C., Machado, D. B., Cislaghi, B., Salman, O. M., Karanikolos, M., McKee, M. et al., 2020. Five insights from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258), pp. 1135-1159. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31404-5

Abbafati, C., Machado, D. B., Cislaghi, B., Salman, O. M., Karanikolos, M., McKee, M. et al., 2020. Global age-sex-specific fertility, mortality, healthy life expectancy (HALE), and population estimates in 204 countries and territories, 1950–2019: a comprehensive demographic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258), pp. 1160-1203. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30977-6

Abbafati, C., Machado, D. B., Cislaghi, B., Salman, O. M., Karanikolos, M., McKee, M. et al., 2020. Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258), pp. 1204-1222. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30925-9

Abbafati, C., Machado, D. B., Cislaghi, B., Salman, O. M., Karanikolos, M., McKee, M. et al., 2020. Global burden of 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 396(10258), pp. 1223-1249. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30752-2

Cheng, C.., Wang, N., Wong, T. Y., Congdon, N., He, M., Wang, Y. X. et al., 2020. Prevalence and causes of vision loss in East Asia in 2015: Magnitude, temporal trends and projections. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 104(5), pp. 616-622. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2018-313308

Marques, A. P., Ramke, J., Cairns, J., Butt, T., Zhang, J. H., Faal, H. B., Taylor, H., Jones, I., Congdon, N., Bastawrous, A., Braithwaite, T., Jovic, M., Resnikoff, S., Nandakumar, A., Khaw, P. T., Bourne, R. R. A., Gordon, I., Frick, K., Burton, M. J., 2020. Estimating the global cost of vision impairment and its major causes: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 10(9), pp. e036689. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036689

Naidoo, K., Kempen, J. H., Gichuhi, S., Braithwaite, T., Casson, R. J., Cicinelli, M. V., Das, A., Flaxman, S. R., Jonas, J. B., Keeffe, J. E., Leasher, J., Limburg, H., Pesudovs, K., Resnikoff, S., Silvester, A. J., Tahhan, N., Taylor, H. R., Wong, T. Y., Bourne, R. R. A., 2020. Prevalence and causes of vision loss in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015: Magnitude, temporal trends and projections. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 104(12), pp. 1658-1668. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2019-315217

Xu, T., Wang, B., Liu, H., Wang, H., Yin, P., Dong, W., Li, J., Wang, Y. X., Yusufu, M., Briant, P., Reinig, N., Ashbaugh, C., Adelson, J., Vos, T., Bourne, R., Wang, N., Zhou, M., 2020. Prevalence and causes of vision loss in China from 1990 to 2019: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet Public Health, 5(12), pp. e682-e691. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30254-1

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