Aims To assess the global burden and economic inequalities in the distribution of blindness and vision loss between 1990 and 2019.
Methods A secondary analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019. Data for disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) due to blindness and vision loss were extracted from the GBD 2019. Data for gross domestic product per capita were extracted from the World Bank database. Slope index of inequality (SII) and concentration index were computed to assess absolute and relative cross-national health inequality, respectively.
Results Countries with high, high-middle, middle, low-middle and low Socio-demographic Index (SDI) had decline of age-standardised DALY rate of 4.3%, 5.2%, 16.0%, 21.4% and 11.30% from 1990 to 2019, respectively. The poorest 50% of world citizens bore 59.0% and 66.2% of the burden of blindness and vision loss in 1990 and 2019, respectively. The absolute cross-national inequality (SII) fell from −303.5 (95% CI −370.8 to −236.2) in 1990 to −256.0 (95% CI −288.1 to −223.8) in 2019. The relative inequality (concentration index) for global blindness and vision loss remained essentially constant between 1991 (−0.197, 95% CI −0.234 to −0.160) and 2019 (−0.193, 95% CI −0.216 to −0.169).
Conclusion Though countries with middle and low-middle SDI were the most successful in decreasing burden of blindness and vision loss, a high level of cross-national health inequality persisted over the past three decades. More attention must be paid to the elimination of avoidable blindness and vision loss in low-income and middle-income countries.
- Public health
Data availability statement
Data are available in a public, open access repository.
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YL, HW and ZG are joint first authors.
YL, HW and ZG contributed equally.
KQ and MZ contributed equally.
Contributors KQ and MZ: design the study, results interpretation, finalise the manuscript; YL, HW and ZG: data analysis, drafting the manuscript; CG, PG, YD, SY, BC, JJ, YM, LJ, YH, KZ, QM, RZ and MC: data collection, data analysis. NC: draft and revise the manuscript. KQ: responsible for the overall content as the guarantor
Funding This study was partly supported by Special Fund for Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, grant number: 2019ST024 and the Science and Technology Plan Project of Shantou, grant number：汕府科106.
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Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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