Worldwide Eye Care

  • 39 million people worldwide are blind.
  • 90% of the world's blind live in low-income countries.
  • 246 million people have moderate to severe visual impairment.
  • 80% of visual impairment is avoidable.
  • 63% of people with low vision and 82% who are blind are over 50 years of age.
  • Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region account for 73% of moderate to severe visual impairment and 58% of the world’s blindness. [1]

Adding to this burden, the worldwide population is projected to increase in number and, even more significantly, advance in age.  With each decade over the age of 40, the prevalence of vision loss and blindness increases three times.

Working to Improve Worldwide Eye Care
The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) is committed to integrating ophthalmology and eye care into the larger healthcare system, with eye care teams focused on meeting the needs of the public in their communities. To that end, the ICO works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and other organizations to increase support for the prevention of blindness and vision loss.
The ICO Fellowship program helps promising young ophthalmologists improve their practical skills and broaden their professional outlook.  Most ICO Fellows come from developing countries where there are an inadequate number of skilled eye-care professionals.  Each year, approximately 60 ICO Fellowships may be awarded. More than 350 Fellowships have been awarded since the program began in 2000.


Your financial contribution supports International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) programs to enhance education and eye care and to preserve and restore vision worldwide.


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