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The Demography and Causes of Blindness

by Hyman Goldstein

A report on the statistics of blindness from an international point of view.

The Demography of Blindness Throughout the World

by Hyman Goldstein

Most of the world's blindness could be prevented, and the attack on it and its consequences proceeds apace through such organizations as the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and the World Health Organization. For greatest effectiveness, their programs must be based upon accurate data, as a WHO study quoted here by Dr. Goldstein makes clear: "In order to establish appropriate priorities for prevention and treatment at the national and international level, it is essential that reliable up-to-date statistical data on prevalence, age of onset, and causes of blindness be obtained." But even in the United States, where collection of data on blindness began in 1830, there are still no reliable trend data. In much of the rest of the world data are fragmentary, and data that would allow valid country by country comparisons are almost non-existent. Dr. Goldstein has done a valuable service in pulling together such statistics as can be found, and in discussing their weaknesses and strengths.

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