We are living in exciting times with many challenges and new opportunities to overcome diseases. The concept and definition of blindness and their major causes worldwide are discussed with reference to the Vision 2020 initiatives launched in 1999 for blindness prevention, with an updated summary. The peculiar problems that exists in Singapore are also presented. Yet, if the world’s major causes of blindness: cataracts, onchocerciasis, trachoma, refractive errors and low vision, and childhood blindness (inherent problems of the Third and Fourth World) can be overcome with international concerted efforts by year 2020, there will emerge new causes as yet unknown. Noble as our aims may be to achieve short- and long-term targets, we have to face the continuous reality of our inability to fulfil them.
This review article considers the universal definition of blindness, the causes of world/global blindness, and ongoing international efforts in blindness prevention. The prospects for Vision 2020 – 20/20 or 6/6 visual acuity for all by year 2020 – worldwide, and for Singapore in particular, and whether it is relevant or achievable in the modern era, are discussed.
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