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National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

Published: 21st Oct, 2019

National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

Recently, Union Health Minister released the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 2019.


Recently, Union Health Minister released the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 2019.


  • The survey was conducted by the AIIMS, Delhi and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The survey was conducted between 2015 and 2019.
  • The survey was conducted in 31 districts of 24 states and the results were extrapolated for the entire country.
  • India is the first country to launch National Program for Control of Blindness in 1976. The aim of the program is to reduce the blindness prevalence to 0.3% by 2020.
  • Key findings of the report
    • Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in people above 50 years, according to the survey.
    • The prevalence of blindness in India is 99%.
    • Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh has the highest population suffering from blindness.
    • Around 3.67% of the districts are blind and 21.82% suffer visual impairment.
    • Blindness is more pronounced among illiterates as compared to literates. Around 3.23% illiterates are blind and 0.43% literates are blind.
    • Blindness is more prevalent in rural population (2.14%) as compared to urban (1.8%)
    • Approximately 93% of cases of blindness and 96.2% visual impairment cases in this age group were avoidable.

Causes of blindness

  • Aphakia – Absence of lens in the eye
  • Untreated non-infectious corneal opacity-scarring of cornea
  • Cataract related surgical complication was the second highest cause for blindness.
  • The outcomes of cataract surgery are not good everywhere. Around 40% of cataracts were done in government facilities. Rest of the surgeries took place in private and non – profit facilities. Of these, only 57.8% saw good visual outcome. Cost was the biggest barrier in accessing cataract surgeries.
  • Around 22.1% of blindness was caused because of cost as a barrier. Around 22.1% of blindness were caused due to lack of awareness

Barriers to accessing treatment

  • Among men, the most important barriers are financial constraints (31%) and local reasons (21.5%).
  • Among women, local reasons (23.1%) and financial constraints (21.2%) were the most important barriers. 

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