Study Shows Rohingya Refugees Have Poor Eye Health Compared to Locals

A recent study has shown that Rohingya refugees have poor eye health and patients were three-to-six times more likely to be blind compared to locals. The study looked at 48,000 Rohingya and 20,000 local residents between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. A high number of Rohingya have cataracts in their 20s to 40s which may be due to poor access to care and nutrition. The study was done by Orbis International with support from the Qatar Fund for Development.

In crisis situations, aid mostly goes toward addressing hunger and life-threatening diseases. However, there is a growing understanding that treating other conditions, such as mental health and disabilities, may help communities like Rohingya be resilient in difficult situations. According to the WHO, 2.2 billion people in the world have poor vision or blindness, including 1 billion who have preventable eye problems that are not addressed.