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Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness in Negros Island and Antique District, Philippines
  1. Cristina Eusebio1,
  2. Hannah Kuper2,
  3. Sarah Polack2,
  4. John Enconado3,
  5. Noel Tongson4,
  6. Donald Dionio5,
  7. Anne DumDum4,
  8. Hans Limburg2,
  9. Allen Foster2
  1. 1
    Cataract Foundation of the Philippines, Bacolod, Philippines
  2. 2
    International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  3. 3
    Fatima Eye Center, Manila, Philippines
  4. 4
    Iloilo Provincial Hospital, Iloilo, Philippines
  5. 5
    Western Visayas Medical Center, Iloilo, Philippines
  1. Hannah Kuper, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK; hannah.kuper{at}


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, 2774 of 3649 enumerated subjects were examined (76.0%) and 3177 of 3842 enumerated subjects in Antique (82.7%). The prevalence of blindness (presenting VA<3/60 in better eye) was 2.6% (95% CI = 2.0 to 3.2%) in Negros and 3.0% (2.4 to 3.6%) in Antique. The leading cause of blindness was untreated cataract, and was refractive error for visual impairment (VA<6/18 to ⩾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 (ie, 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.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • This work was supported by grants from SightSavers International, Christian Blind Mission and ORBIS International.

  • Abbreviations:

    design effect


    visual acuity