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Prevalence and causes of visual impairment and blindness in Sistan-va-Baluchestan Province, Iran: Zahedan Eye Study
  1. Hossein Ali Shahriari,
  2. Shahrokh Izadi (izadish{at}yahoo.com),
  3. Mohammad Reza Rouhani,
  4. Farzaneh Ghasemzadeh,
  5. Ali Reza Maleki
  1. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  2. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  3. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  4. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  5. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Islamic Republic of

    Abstract

    Aim: To determine the prevalence and causes of visual impairment and blindness in the Sistan-va- Baluchestan province of Iran.

    Methods: A population based cross sectional study with a multistage cluster sampling technique was used to identify the study subjects. Visual acuity (VA) was defined for all participants 10 years and older. Participants with a VA of less than 20/60 were examined by an ophthalmologist to determine the causes of low vision or blindness.

    Results: 5446 (84.0%) of the invited people were examined. The prevalence of visual impairment (VA < 20/60) was 6.81% (95% CI: 5.91% to 7.71%) and of bilateral blindness (VA < 3/60) was 0.79% (95% CI: 0.50% to 1.08%). Visual impairment increased with age and illiteracy. Above 40 years, bilateral blindness doubled in females. The causes of visual impairment and blindness were cataract (37.7%), corneal opacity (15.0%), amblyopia (15.0%), glaucoma (5.7%) and hyperopia (5.0%). 39.5% of the visual impairment cases and 10.9% of blind cases were potentially curable.

    Conclusion: The estimated magnitude of visual impairment and blindness was much higher than our expectations. Further investigation of the pattern of vision loss in women and children particularly as a result of trachoma and amblyopia, is warranted. Implementation of measures to treat curable cases of the study population can improve the situation in the region dramatically.

    • Iran
    • blindness
    • low vision
    • visual impairment

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