Study results from J. Ramke et al provide new insights into blindness risk factors

Scientists discuss in “Prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision in Timor-Leste” new findings in blindness. In this recent report, researchers in Sydney, Australia conducted a study “To estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision in people aged >or=40 years in Timor-Leste. A population-based cross-sectional survey using multistage cluster random sampling to identify 50 clusters of 30 people. A cause of vision loss was determined for each eye presenting with visual acuity worse than 6/18.”

“Of 1470 people enumerated, 1414 (96.2%) were examined. The age, gender and domicile-adjusted prevalence of functional blindness (presenting vision worse than 6/60 in the better eye) was 7.4% (95% CI 6.1 to 8.8), and for blindness at 3/60 was 4.1% (95% CI 3.1 to 5.1). The adjusted prevalence for low vision (better eye presenting vision of 6/60 or better, but worse than 6/18) was 17.7% (95% CI 15.7 to 19.7). Gender was not a risk factor for blindness or low vision, but increasing age, illiteracy, subsistence farming, unemployment and rural domicile were risk factors for both. Cataract was the commonest cause of blindness (72.9%) and an important cause of low vision (17.8%),” wrote J. Ramke and colleagues, .

The researchers concluded: “Uncorrected refractive error caused 81.3% of low vision. Strategies that make good-quality cataract and refractive error services available, affordable and accessible, especially in rural areas, will have the greatest impact on vision impairment.”

Ramke and colleagues published their study in British Journal of Ophthalmology (Prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision in Timor-Leste. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2007;91(9):1117-21).

For additional information, contact J. Ramke, The International Centre for Eyecare Education, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Publisher contact information for the British Journal of Ophthalmology is: B M J Publishing Group, British Med Association House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR, England.

Keywords: Australia, Sydney, Blindness Risk Factors, Blindness, Low Vision, Ophthalmology.

This article was prepared by Science Letter editors from staff and other reports.

Copyright 2007, Science Letter via

[see also JMM/ETAN]

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