Cause-specific prevalence of bilateral visual impairment in Victoria, Australia: the Visual Impairment Project
AuthorVan Newkirk, Mylan R.; Weih, LeAnn M.; McCarty, Catherine A.; Taylor, Hugh R.
PublisherElsevier (Initially -American Academy of Ophthalmology)
University of Melbourne Author/sTaylor, Hugh
AffiliationMedicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences: Centre for Eye Research Australia
School of Medicine: Ophthalmology
Document TypeJournal (Paginated)
CitationsVan Newkirk, M. R., Weih, L. M., McCarty, C. A. & Taylor, H. R. (2001). Cause-specific prevalence of bilateral visual impairment in Victoria, Australia: the Visual Impairment Project. Ophthalmology, 108, 960-967.
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Purpose: To study the cause-specific prevalence of eye diseases causing bilateral visual impairment in Australian adults. Design: Two-site, population-based cross-sectional study. Participants: Participants were aged 40 years and older and resident in their homes at the time of recruitment for the study. The study was conducted during 1992 through 1996. Methods: The study uses a cluster stratified random sample of 4744 participants from two cohorts, urban, and rural Victoria. Participants completed a standardized interview and eye examination, including presenting and best-corrected visual acuity, visual fields, and dilated ocular examination. The major cause of vision loss was identified for all participants found to be visually impaired. Population-based prevalence estimates are weighted to reflect the age and gender distribution of the two cohorts in Victoria. Main Outcome Measures: Visual impairment was defined by four levels of severity on the basis of best-corrected visual acuity or visual field: <6/18 ≥6/60 and/or <20° ≥10° radius field, moderate vision impairment; severe vision impairment, <6/60 ≥3/60 and/or <10° ≥5° radius field; and profound vision impairment <3/60 and/or <5° radius field. In addition, less-than-legal driving vision, <6/12 ≥6/18, and/or homonymous hemianopia were defined as mild vision impairment. In Australia, legal blindness includes severe and profound vision impairment. Results: The population-weighted prevalence of diseases causing less-than-legal driving or worse impairment in the better eye was 42.48/1000 (95% confidence interval [CI), 30.11,54.86). Uncorrected refractive error was the most frequent cause of bilateral vision impairment, 24.68/1000 (95% CI, 16.12, 33.25), followed by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 3.86/1000 (95% CI, 2.17,5.55); other retinal diseases, 2.91/1000 (95% CI, 0.74, 5.08); other disorders, 2.80/1000 (95% CI, 1.17,4.43); cataract, 2.57/1000 (95% CI, 1.38, 3.76); glaucoma, 2.32/1000 (95% CI, 0.72, 3.92); neuro-ophthalmic disorders, 1.80/1000 (95% CI, 0, 4.11); and diabetic retinopathy, 1.53/1000 (95% CI, 0.71,2.36). The prevalence of legal blindness was 5.30/1000 (95% CI, 3.24, 7.36). Although not significantly different, the causes of legal blindness were uncorrected refractive errors, AMD, glaucoma, other retinal conditions, and other diseases. Conclusions: Significant reduction of visual impairment may be attained with the application of current knowledge in refractive errors, diabetes mellitus, cataract, and glaucoma. Although easily preventable, uncorrected refractive error remains a major cause of vision impairment.
KeywordsCERA; ophthalmology; Centre for Eye Research Australia; eye research; vision; visual health
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