Researchers did this study to assess the prevalence and causes of vision loss in SSA compared with prior years and estimate expected values.

The present study is a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the prevalence of blindness, moderate and severe vision impairment, mild vision impairment, and near vision impairment in SSA.

In SSA, the age-standardized prevalence of blindness, MSVI, and MVI in 2015 were 1.03%, 3.64%, and 2.94%, respectively, for males and 1.08%, 3.84%, and 3.06% for females constituting a significant decrease since 2010 for both genders. There were an estimated 4.28 million blind individuals and 17.36 million individuals with MSVI; the analysis estimated that 101.08 million individuals to have near vision loss due to presbyopia. Cataract was the most common cause of blindness, whereas undercorrected refractive error was the common cause of MSVI. Sub-Saharan West Africa had the highest proportion of blindness compared with the other SSA subregions.

The study concluded that cataract and URE, two of the significant causes of blindness and vision impairment, are reversible with treatment and thus promising targets to alleviate vision impairment in SSA.