The National Blindness & Visual Impairment Survey India 2015-2019, released by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, looks at the district-wise prevalence of blindness and visual impairment.  The National Blindness & Visual Impairment Survey India 2015-2019 Key Highlights of Survey:

  • The prevalence of blindness is lowest in Thrissur district of Kerala (1.08%) while that of visual impairment is lowest in Thoubal in Manipur (7.3%). 
  • Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh has the highest prevalence in both categories, at 3.67% and 21.82 %, respectively.
  • In the low prevalence of blindness, Thrissur is followed by North Goa, Khera (Punjab) and Virudhunagar (Tamil Nadu).
  • The report found that the prevalence of blindness is highest among those who are at least 80 years old (11.6%).
  • An untreated cataract is the main cause of blindness, at 66.2%. and also the foremost cause of severe visual impairment, at 80.7% of all cases.
  • Corneal opacity, cataract surgical complications and some posterior segment disorders are some of the other causes of blindness. 
  • As per the survey, the prevalence of blindness has reduced by 47.1% compared to the baseline levels of 2010.
  • The survey randomly identified 31 districts with a sample size of about 93,000, among whom 18,000 were less than 50 years of age.
National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey:
  • The survey was conducted by Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, over a three-year period, between 2015 and 2018 for Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The survey was conducted in 31 districts of 24 States in the country.
  • A Rapid Assessment Avoidable of Blindness (RAAB-6) methodology was used to conduct the survey.
  • Rapid Assessment Avoidable of Blindness(RAAB-6): RAAB-6 is a widely accepted method which is being used worldwide to detect the prevalence of blindness in people above 50 years of age.
National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI) 
  • National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI) was launched in the year 1976 with the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by 2020.  
  • Rapid Survey on Avoidable Blindness conducted under NPCB during 2006-07 showed a reduction in the prevalence of blindness from 1.1% (2001-02) to 1% (2006-07).
  • Prevalence of Blindness target –  0.3% (by the year 2020).
Major Causes of blindness 
  • Cataract (62.6%)
  • Refractive Error (19.70%) 
  • Corneal Blindness (0.90%), 
  • Glaucoma (5.80%), 
  • Surgical Complication (1.20%) 
  • Posterior Capsular Opacification (0.90%) 
  • Posterior Segment Disorder (4.70%), 
  • Others (4.19%) 
Main objectives
  • To reduce the backlog of avoidable blindness through identification and treatment of curable blind at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, based on an assessment of the overall burden of visual impairment in the country;
  • Develop and strengthen the strategy of NPCB for “Eye Health for All” and prevention of visual impairment; through the provision of comprehensive universal eye-care services and quality service delivery;
  • Strengthening and up-gradation of Regional Institutes of Ophthalmology (RIOs) to become the centre of excellence in various sub-specialities of ophthalmology and also other partners like Medical College, District Hospitals, Sub-district Hospitals, Vision Centres, NGO Eye Hospitals; 
  • Strengthening the existing infrastructure facilities and developing additional human resources for providing high-quality comprehensive Eye Care  in all Districts of the country;
  • To enhance  community awareness on eye care and lay stress on preventive measures; 
  • Increase and expand research for prevention of blindness and visual impairment;
  • To secure the participation of Voluntary Organizations/Private Practitioners in delivering eye care.
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