Aims: To estimate the magnitude and causes of blindness in people aged ⩾50 years in Satkhira district, Bangladesh, and to assess the availability of cataract surgical services.
Methods: 106 clusters of 50 people aged ⩾50 years were selected by probability-proportionate to size sampling. Households were selected by compact segment sampling. Eligible participants had their visual acuity measured. Those with visual acuity <6/18 were examined by an ophthalmologist. A needs assessment of surgical services was conducted by interviewing service providers.
Results: 4868 people were examined (response rate 91.9%). The prevalence of bilateral blindness was 2.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.4% to 3.5%), that of severe visual impairment was 1.6% (95% CI 1.2% to 2.0%) and that of visual impairment was 8.4% (95% CI 7.5% to 9.3%). 79% of bilateral blindness was due to cataract. The cataract surgical coverage was moderate; 61% of people with bilateral cataract blindness (visual acuity <3/60) had undergone surgery. 20% of the 213 eyes that had undergone cataract surgery had a best-corrected poor outcome (visual acuity <6/60). The cataract surgical rate (CSR) in Satkhira was 547 cataract surgeries per million people per year.
Conclusions: Although the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment was lower than expected, the CSR is inadequate to meet the existing need, and the quality of surgery needs to be improved.
- CSR, cataract surgical rate
- DEFF, design effect
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Published Online First 26 July 2006
Funding: This study was funded by grants from Sight Savers International, Christian Blind Mission and ORBIS International.
Competing interests: None.