ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, blindness and poor vision rates have plunged over the past 20 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines blindness as severe vision impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery.  It interferes with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

Researchers analyzed data from 243 studies that were done in 190 nations; they found that between 1990 and 2010, the rate of blindness fell by 37 percent. The researchers also found that the rate of poor vision fell by 27 percent during that same time period.

These reductions were greater in the wealthier nations.

The researchers found that women were more likely to suffer from vision impairment than men.

The researchers found that the most common cause of blindness throughout the world, with the exception of central and eastern European countries, was macular degeneration replaced cataracts.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens and it blocks or changes the passage of light needed for vision.

The study also found that the most common cause of poor vision was uncorrected refractive errors.

The researchers determined that if countries were able to fix problems, such as long and short-sightedness, then the rates of poor vision could fall even more.

“For the highly developed countries one of the most effective, cheapest, and safest ways of improving vision loss by providing adequate spectacles for correcting refractive errors, is being overlooked,” Rupert Bourne, a professor with the vision and eye research unit at Anglia Ruskin University, and the study’s author told HealthDay News.

It is suggested that regular eye exams help protect and preserve your vision.

The study was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.


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