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Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;19(2):52-7. doi: 10.3109/09286586.2011.645108. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision revisited after 5 years of eye care in Timor-Leste.

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  • 1The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand , Auckland , New Zealand.



To estimate the 2010 prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision among Timor-Leste adults aged ā‰„40 years, and compare these to the results of a survey conducted 5 years previously.


A population-based cross-sectional survey used multistage cluster random sampling proportionate to size to identify 50 clusters of 45 people each. Cause of vision loss was determined for each eye with presenting visual acuity worse than 6/18.


A participation rate of 89.5% (nā€‰=ā€‰2014) was achieved. The gender-age-domicile adjusted prevalence was 7.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.5, 8.8) for 6/60, and 3.6% (95% CI 2.7, 4.4) for 3/60 blindness (better eye presenting vision worse than 6/60 and 3/60, respectively) among Timorese aged ā‰„40 years. Cataract caused most blindness (69.3% at 6/60). The population prevalence of low vision (better eye presenting vision of 6/60 or better, but worse than 6/18) was 13.6% (95%CI 12.1, 15.1), most caused by uncorrected refractive error (57.4%) or cataract (39.5%). The prevalence and causes of blindness were unchanged compared with 5 years earlier, but low vision was less common.


Unusually for a developing country, Timor-Leste has initiated a cycle of evidence-based eye care in which, although with limitations, population data are periodically available for monitoring and planning.

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