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Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness in Negros Island and Antique District, Philippines
  1. Cristina Eusebio (tinaeusebio{at}yahoo.com),
  2. Hannah Kuper (hannah.kuper{at}lshtm.ac.uk),
  3. Sarah R Polack (sarah.polack{at}lshtm.ac.uk),
  4. John Enconada (enconadaj{at}yahoo.com),
  5. Noel Tongson (u_oy{at}yahoo.com),
  6. Donald Dionio (doc_don{at}lycos.com),
  7. Anne DumDum (anneddum{at}hotmail.com),
  8. Hans Limburg (hlimburg{at}quicknet.nl),
  9. Allen Foster (allenfoster{at}compuserve.com)
  1. Cataract Foundation of the Philippines, Philippines
  2. LSHTM, United Kingdom
  3. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
  4. Fatima Eye Center, Manila, Philippines
  5. Iloilo Provincial Hospital, Iloilo, Philippines
  6. Western Visayas Medical Center, Iloilo, Philippines
  7. Iloilo Provincial Hospital, Philippines
  8. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
  9. LSHTM, Philippines

    Abstract

    Objectives: To conduct Rapid Assessments of Avoidable Blindness to estimate the magnitude and causes of blindness in people aged >=50 years in Negros Island and Antique district, Philippines.

    Methods: Clusters of 50 people aged >=50 years were sampled with probability proportionate to size. Households within clusters were selected through compact segment sampling. Visual acuity (VA) was measured with a tumbling E chart. Ophthalmologists examined people with VA<6/18 in either eye.

    Results: In Negros, 2,774 of 3,649 enumerated subjects were examined (76.0%) and 3,177 of 3,842 enumerated subjects in Antique (82.7%). The prevalence of blindness (presenting VA<3/60 in better eye) was 2.6% (95% CI=2.0-3.2%) in Negros and 3.0% (2.4-3.6%) in Antique. The leading cause of blindness was untreated cataract, and was refractive error for visual impairment (VA <6/18->=6/60). Most of the cases of blindness (67% in Negros, 82% in Antique) and visual impairment (94% in Negros, 95% in Antique) were avoidable (i.e. operated and unoperated cataract, refractive error and corneal scar). In Negros 23% of eyes had a poor outcome after cataract surgery, and 13% in Antique.

    Conclusions: The prevalence of blindness in two areas in the Philippines was relatively low. Since most cases were avoidable, further reductions are possible.

    • Blindness
    • Cataract
    • Philippines
    • Survey
    • Visual impairment

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