Stronger together is the rallying cry of this year’s World Sight Day, celebrated today, october 13th. We at BMF: Research for Vision have joined the call of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to highlight blindness and visual disability as an important problem for public health. A call from our Foundation to overcome forms of blindness that until a short time ago were accepted with resignation. We do this as part of a network, as is only fitting in the 21st century, in which we join forces with prestigious partners in international projects of acknowledged excellence.
Research is bearing fruit but visual degeneration is moving at a faster pace. This is why we need the involvement of public and private corporations in the form of budgets and investments
This is a race against time. Research is bearing fruit but visual degeneration is moving at a faster pace. This is why we need the involvement of public and private corporations in the form of budgets and investments. Each piece of investment provides us with more clues about how to treat these pathologies.
There are approximately 285 million people with low vision and blindness in the world. Of these, 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual disabilities. We know that nine of every ten blind people live in countries which lack resources. These figures, however, should not mask a situation that is reversible. Eighty per cent of visual disabilities are avoidable: either those that are easily treatable with the resources we have at our disposal in the western world or those that could be prevented. In addition, —and this is an important message for state administrations and public health managers- blindness prevention strategies are among the most effective, with regard to cost, in health care.
We also know that about 65% of the visually disabled are over 50 years old —and this age group only comprises 20% of the world’s population. The increase in the oldest groups in many countries, associated with the increase in life expectancy, means that more people are at risk of suffering age-related visual disabilities.
It is within these parameters that we develop our activities: to bring quality of life to the elderly, to prevent young people from going blind. We do this from our Foundation and in partnership with other benchmark centres around the world. Stronger Together: the BMF firmly believes in this affirmation and strives every day to make it a reality.