Global burden of eye disease

The Global Vision Database has been established by an international consortium of 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 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, reporting recently the reduction in age-standardised blindness prevalence between 1980 and 2010, and revised estimates for 2015 with projections to 2020 (published in The Lancet Global Health). 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 for a further five years (to 2023). It continues to be accessible through a visualisation project called Vision Atlas.

Principal Investigator: Professor Rupert Bourne

Downloadable resources