While children make up just one in 10 people who are blind, the implications for children who are blind are far reaching.
Here are five facts you need to know about childhood blindness:
1) It’s prevalent
There are 1.4 million blind children in the world.
One million of these children live in Asia and 300,000 live in Africa.
This number of people would fill the Sydney Cricket Ground more than 30 times.
2) It’s increasing
Every minute, somewhere in the world, a child goes blind and nearly half a million children develop blindness each year.
3) It can mean death
Most blind children are either born blind or become blind before their fifth birthday.
Ninety per cent of blind children die before reaching adulthood (usually from malnutrition). About 45 per cent of blindness in these children could have been prevented or treated.
4) It’s a huge cost
The global financial cost in terms of loss of earning capacity, is greater than the cost of adult blindness and has recently been estimated to be between US$60 billion and $270 billion.
It has been estimated that nearly a third of the global economic cost of blindness is due to childhood blindness.
5) Ending it is also a smart financial decision
Every $1 invested in blindness in low and middle income countries provides an economic return of at least $4.
Fred Hollows knew the impact of avoidable blindness in children, and fought to eradicate it.
We’re continuing that fight for all the children who are blind, but don’t need to be.