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Clinical science
Burden of blindness and vision loss in China over the past 30 years: findings and predictions based on the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019
  1. Bo Jiang,
  2. Qingying Yao,
  3. Xianbin Yuan,
  4. Gaoqin Liu,
  5. Peirong Lu
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Peirong Lu, Department of Ophthalmology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China; lupeirong{at}


Aims To investigate the burden of blindness and vision loss (BVL) in China over the past 30 years according to year, age and sex, and to estimate future predictions.

Methods We analysed the years lived with disability (YLDs), number of cases, age-standardised YLD rates (ASYRs) and age-standardised prevalence rates (ASPRs) of BVL in China from 1990 to 2019. We focused on changes over time using estimated annual percentage changes (EAPCs). Additionally, we used the Bayesian age-period-cohort model to predict the BVL burden from 2020 to 2030.

Results The number of YLDs and prevalent cases due to BVL increased from 2.57 (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 1.74 to 3.72) and 90.76 million (95% UI 72.21 to 111.92) in 1990 to 5.42 (95% UI 3.61 to 8.02) and 211.67 million (95% UI 168.21 to 259.66) in 2019, respectively. The BVL ASYRs and ASPRs showed a decreasing trend, with EAPCs of −0.13 (95% CI −0.28 to 0.02) and −0.11 (95% CI −0.19 to −0.04), respectively. The elderly and female populations had a higher BVL burden. The numbers of YLDs and cases due to BVL are projected to continue rising to 7.74 and 279.49 million in 2030, respectively. The ASYRs and ASPRs also showed increasing trends.

Conclusion While rates of BVL in China have decreased, there has been a notable increase in the number of YLDs and new cases over the past 30 years. Projections suggest that the burden of BVL will continue to rise over the next 11 years. To address this challenge, appropriate policies must be implemented.

  • epidemiology
  • vision

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • X @lupeirong

  • Contributors Conception and design—PL and BJ. Analysis and interpretation—PL and BJ. Writing of the article—BJ, QY and XY. Critical revision of the article—PL and GL. Data collection—BJ. Administrative, technical or logistical support—PL. Guarantor—PL.

  • Funding This work was supported by Jiangsu Provincial Medical Innovation Team (grant no. CXTDA2017039) and the National Natural Science Foundation in China (grant no. 81671641, 82271113) to PL.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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