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Prevalence and causes of vision loss in Central and South Asia: 1990–2010
  1. Jost B Jonas1,
  2. Ronnie George2,
  3. Rashima Asokan3,
  4. Seth R Flaxman4,
  5. Jill Keeffe5,
  6. Janet Leasher6,
  7. Kovin Naidoo7,
  8. Konrad Pesudovs8,
  9. Holly Price9,
  10. Lingam Vijaya2,
  11. Richard A White10,
  12. Tien Y Wong11,
  13. Serge Resnikoff12,
  14. Hugh R Taylor13,
  15. Rupert R A Bourne9,
  16. on behalf of the Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
  2. 2Sri Jadhavbai Nathmal Singhvee Glaucoma Services, Medical Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  3. 3Elite School of Optometry, Medical Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  4. 4School of Computer Science & Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
  5. 5LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India
  6. 6Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, USA
  7. 7African Vision Research Institute, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa & Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, Australia
  8. 8NHMRC Centre for Clinical Eye Research, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  9. 9Vision and Eye Research Unit, Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
  10. 10Department of Genes and Environment, Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  11. 11Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore, Singapore
  12. 12Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, Australia
  13. 13Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Rupert R A Bourne, Vision and Eye Research Unit, Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK; rb{at}


Background To examine the prevalence, patterns and trends of vision impairment and its causes from 1990 to 2010 in Central and South Asia.

Methods Based on the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2010 and ongoing literature searches, we examined prevalence and causes of moderate and severe vision impairment (MSVI; presenting visual acuity <6/18, ≥3/60) and blindness (presenting visual acuity <3/60).

Results In Central Asia, the estimated age-standardised prevalence of blindness decreased from 0.4% (95% CI 0.3% to 0.6%) to 0.2% (95% CI 0.2% to 0.3%) and of MSVI from 3.0% (95% CI 1.9% to 4.7%) to 1.9% (95% CI 1.2% to 3.2%), and in South Asia blindness decreased from 1.7% (95% CI 1.4% to 2.1%) to 1.1% (95% CI 0.9% to 1.3%) and MSVI from 8.9% (95% CI 6.9% to 10.9%) to 6.4% (95% CI 5.2% to 8.2%). In 2010, 135 000 (95% CI 99 000 to 194 000) people were blind in Central Asia and 10 600 000 (95% CI 8 397 000 to 12 500 000) people in South Asia. MSVI was present in 1 178 000 (95% CI 772 000 to 2 243 000) people in the Central Asia, and in 71 600 000 (95% CI 57 600 000 to 92 600 000) people in South Asia. Women were generally more often affected than men. The leading causes of blindness (cataract) and MSVI (undercorrected refractive error) did not change from 1990 to 2010.

Conclusions The prevalence of blindness and MSVI in South Asia is still three times higher than in Central Asia and globally, with women generally more often affected than women. In both regions, cataract and undercorrected refractive error were major causes of blindness and MSVI.

  • Epidemiology
  • Macula
  • Glaucoma

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