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Eye (Lond). 2006 Jun;20(6):661-7. Epub 2005 May 27.

Prevalence of blindness and low vision in an Italian population: a comparison with other European studies.

Author information

1
Physiopathological Optics, Department of Biopathology and Diagnostic Imaging, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. cedrone@uniroma2.it

Abstract

AIM:

The scientific literature contains recent data on the prevalence of blindness and low vision for a few European countries, but most of these studies have been focused exclusively on the elderly sector of the populations. The purpose of the present study was to provide age-specific estimates of the prevalence and causes of visual loss in an Italian population aged 40 years and over.

METHODS:

In total, 847 of the 1,200 citizens >40 years of age (70.6%) in the island community of Ponza underwent complete standardized ophthalmological examinations. Visual acuity (VA) was measured using a standard logarithmic chart. World health organization (WHO) definitions of blindness and low vision were adopted (respectively, VA>1.3 logMAR or a visual field <10 degrees around central fixation, and VA >0.5 to 1.3 logMAR or a visual field <20 degrees around central fixation). Prevalence rates based on presenting VAs were also calculated.

RESULTS:

The overall best-corrected prevalence rates were 0.6% (presenting, 0.8%) for better eye blindness, 2.1% (presenting, 6.7%) for better eye low vision, 1.8% (presenting, 2.6%) for monocular blindness, 5.0% (presenting, 11.2%) for monocular low vision. Cataract, glaucoma, degenerative myopia, and AMD were the main causes of better eye visual loss.

CONCLUSION:

Age-specific prevalence rates in Ponza are fairly consistent with those for other European countries with similar socio-economic conditions and public healthcare systems. A substantial percentage of visual losses remains uncorrected despite the availability of potentially curative therapy. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on educating the public regarding the importance of good vision.

PMID:
15920565
DOI:
10.1038/sj.eye.6701934
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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