A population based survey of trachoma and blindness was conducted in a rural Nile Delta hamlet. Trachoma remains hyperendemic in this region. Active trachoma was common among preschool children; over half had moderate to severe disease. Of residents 25 years old 90% had substantial conjunctival scarring. Severe conjunctival scarring was commoner among women (84%) than men (58%), and three-quarters of older women had trichiasis/entropion compared with 57% of older men. Males and females had equivalent age specific rates of inflammatory disease. Blindness was associated with old age; 17% of residents aged 50 and over were blind. Estimates of blindness based on this survey and other surveys in Egypt indicate that blindness is still a serious public health problem in rural Egypt. The number of blind persons in Egypt will increase from an estimated 420,000 in 1980 to 868,000 by the year 2020. The current crude blindness rate of 1.8% is expected to increase to 2.3% in the year 2000 and to 3.2% in 2020.
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