The following is a summary of “Persistence of severe global inequalities in the burden of blindness and vision loss from 1990 to 2019: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019,” published in the July 2023 issue of Ophthalmology by Li et al.
Researchers performed a retrospective study to examine the global burden and economic disparities in blindness and vision loss from 1990 to 2019. An analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019 examined disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for blindness and vision loss.
Gross domestic product per capita data were extracted from the World Bank. The slope and concentration indexes of inequality (SII) were used to measure absolute and relative cross-national health inequality. From 1990 to 2019, countries with high, high-middle, middle, low-middle, and low Socio-demographic Index (SDI) experienced a decline in age-standardized DALY rates of 4.3%, 5.2%, 16.0%, 21.4%, and 11.30%, respectively. The burden of blindness and vision loss in 1990 and 2019 was mainly borne by the poorest 50% of world citizens, accounting for 59.0% and 66.2% of the total, respectively. The absolute cross-national inequality (SII) decreased 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, measured by the concentration index for global blindness and vision loss, remained relatively stable between 1991 (-0.197, 95% CI -0.234 to -0.160) and 2019 (-0.193, 95% CI -0.216 to -0.169).
The study concluded that low- and middle-income countries made progress in reducing blindness, but health inequality persists.