The burden of vision loss in the Middle East and North Africa region, 1990–2019

Erfan Bahremani, Mahasti Alizadeh, Seyed Aria Nejadghaderi, Maryam Noori, Mark J.M. Sullman, Ali Asghar Kolahi, Saeid Safiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The loss of vision is a substantial public health concern that has important implications for an individual’s quality of life. The primary objective of this research was to document the burden of vision loss in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, spanning the years 1990–2019, by age group, sex, underlying cause and sociodemographic index (SDI). Methods: Publicly available data concerning the burden of vision loss were acquired from the Global Burden of Disease study 2019. The data encompassed all 21 countries within the MENA region for the period spanning 1990 to 2019. The estimates were reported as raw counts and age-standardised rates per 100,000, accompanied by their corresponding 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). Results: In 2019, MENA had an age-standardised point prevalence of 7040.0 (95% UI: 6195.0, 8002.7) and an YLD rate of 314.5 (222.1, 427.6) per 100,000 for vision loss, which were 11.1% (-12.5, -9.7) and 24.3% (-27.6, -20.8) lower, respectively, than in 1990. In 2019, Afghanistan [469.6 (333.0, 632.8)] had the largest age-standardised YLD rate and Turkey [210.7 (145.3, 290.9)] had the lowest. All countries showed a decrease in the age-standardised point prevalence and YLD rate between 1990 and 2019, except for Oman, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Furthermore, in 2019 the largest number of prevalent cases and YLDs were found in the 65–69 age group. Also in 2019, the age-standardised YLD rates in MENA exceeded the global averages for most age groups, for both males and females. In 2019, refractive disorders were the most common types of vision loss among children, adolescents, and middle-age adults in MENA, while near vision loss and cataracts were the most common among older adults. Finally, the burden of vision loss had a slightly negatively association with SDI over the period 1990–2019. Conclusion: Although the burden of vision loss has decreased over the last three decades, the prevalence remains high. These results underscore the importance of healthcare policymakers taking action to implement preventive measures, especially among the elderly and those living in low socioeconomic countries, to decrease the attributable burden in MENA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Global burden of Disease
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Prevalence
  • Vision loss
  • Year lived with disability


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