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 aged ⩾10 years. Participants with a VA of <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. Bilateral blindness doubled in women aged >40 years. 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 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.
- VA, visual acuity
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Published Online First 22 November 2006
Funding: Al-Zahra Eye Centre and Zahedan University of Medical Sciences have funded the Zahedan Eye Study.
Competing interests: None.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.