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National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2019

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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