Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
All major causes of blindness preventable or treatable by 2020?
The September 2016 issue of National Geographic features a story titled "Why There’s New Hope About Ending Blindness". 39 million people worldwide are affected by total blindness, while hundreds of millions more experience some degree of vision loss.
While not every form of blindness is treatable or preventable, the article lists several methods in development to restore at least some vision. Although the goal is to end preventable blindness before 2020, the technology is still in testing and the greatest barrier is delivering treatments to the people who need them.
Two treatment methods focus on repairing damage in the retina itself. Gene therapy targets genetic disorders in eyes by inserting a functional replacement gene into a carrier virus, which incorporates itself into retinal cells. Stem cell therapy aims to replenish damaged or degraded retinas by placing targeted populations of stem cells, which can differentiate into any cell type in the body, in a position to form new rods and cones, the cells essential to sight. Gene therapy is already in clinical use in patients, while stem cell therapy is still in the trial stage.
Another route is a retinal implant. Bionic eyes work just like natural eyes, by collecting and focusing light and relaying the light signals to the brain. Only a handful of people have received an implant so far, and the images produced are little more than areas of light and dark - but the technology is improving.
The World Health Organization reports that 80% of all blindness is preventable or treatable and that the only major remaining non-treatable cause of blindness is age-related macular degeneration. Current treatment efforts can only slow the course of the disease and cannot restore lost sight.
But stem cell trials. . .
Will age-related macular degeneration be preventable or treatable by 2020?
For this question to resolve as positive, a credible news outlet, or press release from the World Health Organization, National Federation of the Blind, or other organization must report that age-related macular degeneration is preventable or treatable, by any means, before December 31, 2020.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.