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Blindness and visual impairment is preventable in about 80 percent of people. It is almost four times more prevalent in poor and illiterate people living in marginalized and rural areas than in wealthy neighborhoods. To reduce blindness and visual impairment, it is necessary to increase the access to eye care services by strengthening the public services in the poorest areas in each country. Access to eye care can reduce visual impairment and refractive errors along the life course.

The PAHO Eye Care regional program has being generating population based epidemiologic data, and evidence on health systems and services inequities. PAHO support governments in the elaboration of norms, policies and guidelines in eye care and plans for the strengthening of the eye care systems. Since evidence demonstrated that blindness and severe visual impairment is clustered among the poor and rural people, PAHO provides technical cooperation and support on planning, strengthening, follow up and evaluation of the public eye care services to reduce inequities in services provision. The program also spearheads the topic of deafness prevention.

World Hearing Day 2018: Hear the Future

worldhearingday2018With the theme "Hear the future", World Hearing Day 2018 will draw attention to the anticipated increase in the number of people with hearing loss around the world in the coming decades. It will focus on preventive strategies to stem the rise and outline steps to ensure access to the necessary rehabilitation services and communication tools and products for people with hearing loss.

For more information about World Hearing Day 2018

Fact Sheets

Globally, chronic eye diseases are the main cause of vision loss. Uncorrected refractive errors and then un-operated cataract are the top two causes of vision impairment. Un-operated cataract remains the leading cause of blindness in low- and middle-income countries. Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing.