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Aust N Z J Ophthalmol. 1997 May;25(2):125-31.

Visual acuity in an Australian aboriginal population.

Author information

1
Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Australia is a developed country. However, Aboriginal Australians have rates of blindness comparable to Third World countries. There have been well-funded eye health programs for 15 years in Central Australia. This paper examines if there has been an improvement in visual disability of one traditional group of Aboriginal Australians.

METHODS:

Results from an eye health survey of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara of South Australia in 1990 are presented. These data are compared with results for 'blindness' and 'poor vision' from a national survey undertaken in 1976. The two surveys were comparable in design, both were cross-sectional population-based prevalence surveys. Prevalence rates were adjusted for the size of the source population.

RESULTS:

Young rural Aboriginal Australians have good visual acuity. Low vision and blindness (WHO definitions) occur in 19.6% and 10.4% of 60+ year olds, respectively. Women were more likely than men to be blind or have low vision (OR = 1.93; 1.06-3.58). There was a decline in 'poor vision' between surveys (OR = 2.86; 1.86-4.75) but not in 'blindness'.

CONCLUSION:

Although there has been a reduction in the prevalence of visual disability in rural Aboriginal Australians, improvements in the provision of eye care for the elderly need to occur.

PMID:
9267598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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