Iranian Journal of Public Health 2015. 44(6):855-864.

855 Available at: http://ijph.tums.ac.ir The Prevalence and Causes of Visaual Impairment and Blindness in a Rural Population in the North of Iran
Hassan HASHEMI, Farhad REZVAN, AbbasAli YEKTA, Hadi OSTADIMOGHADDAM, Sara SOROUSH, Nooshin DADBIN, Mehdi KHABAZKHOOB

Abstract


Background: Visual impairment is a very important public health problem. In Iran, reports of visual impairment and blindness have been published from the urban population while the prevalence of visual impairment in the rural popu-lation has not been reported. The purpose of this study to determine the prevalence and causes of visual impairment, in a rural population in district of based on age and sex
Methods: In a cross-sectional population-based study, using random cluster sampling, 13 of the 83 villages of Khaf County in the north east of Iran were selected. Eye examinations were performed in a Mobile Eye Clinic (Nooravaran Salamat, 2011) and included optometric examinations such as measuring uncorrected and corrected visual acuity along with non-cycloplegic refraction.
Results: The prevalence of visual impairment, low vision, and blindness was 6.3% (95% CI 5.3-7.3), 3.4% (95% CI 2.6-4.1), and 3.0% (95% CI 2.3-3.6), respectively. The prevalence of visual impairment ranged from 1.8% in the partic-ipant younger than 20 years of age to 28% in the subjects aged 60 and over (P<0.001). After matching for age, the prevalence of visual impairment and low vision was significantly higher in women. The most prevalent causes of visual impairment were uncorrected refractory error (54.5%) and cataract (17.6%).
Conclusion: The prevalence of visual impairment was significantly higher in the rural population of this study when compared to previous reports from Iran. It seems that provision of therapeutic facilities like cataract surgery and avail-ability of eyeglasses in villages can considerably reduce the prevalence of visual impairment.

Keywords


Visual impairment, Low vision, Blindness, Cross-sectional study, Iran

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