Br J Ophthalmol 88:614-618 doi:10.1136/bjo.2003.026997
  • World view

Sociodemographic characteristics associated with blindness in a Nile Delta governorate of Egypt

  1. D Fouad1,
  2. A Mousa2,
  3. P Courtright3
  1. 1Department of Biostatistics and Demography, Institute of Statistical Studies and Research, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
  2. 2Al Noor Foundation, Cairo, Egypt
  3. 3Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Tumaini University, Moshi, Tanzania and British Columbia Centre for Epidemiologic and International Ophthalmology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  1. Correspondence to: Dr P Courtright Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Tumaini University, PO Box 2254, Moshi, Tanzania;
  • Accepted 1 October 2003


Background: Globally, blindness is associated with old age and being female. Other sociodemographic and socioeconomic status characteristics associated with blindness have included educational attainment, and occupation. These factors reflect exposure to specific risk factors for blinding eye diseases and utilisation of preventive and curative services by specific sectors of the population.

Methods: A population based survey of blindness and trachoma was conducted in Menofiya governorate in Egypt. 3322 adults 50 years of age and over were sampled from throughout the governorate (population 2.7 million). Visual acuity and clinical conditions were recorded and interviews with respondents were conducted.

Results: Overall, blindness (<6/60 presenting vision in the better eye) was recorded in 13% of the study population. Besides age and sex, other factors associated with blindness (logistic regression) were marital status and poor sanitation in the household.

Conclusion: Socioeconomic status does not appear to be a significant factor associated with blindness in adults in this setting. Instead, sociocultural factors, in particular, characteristics associated with gender sensitive decision making within households, are likely to be more important considerations in understanding blindness in these communities. Successfully combating blindness in the Nile Delta of Egypt will require gender sensitive efforts aimed at timely and effective utilisation of eye care services.


  • Series editors: W V Good and S Ruit