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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-36

Prevalence of visual impairment in adults aged 18 years and above in a rural area of coastal Karnataka

1 Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, SRM University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Nitte University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chythra R Rao
Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal - 576 104, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_102_17

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BACKGROUND: Vision loss and age-related eye diseases are major global public health problems. The burden of visual impairment worldwide varies depending on the methods of assessment. The need for local data on the prevalence of visual impairment in adults coupled with limited resources necessitated the conduct of the study in a limited geographical area. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the field practice area of Department of Community Medicine of a Medical College. Study patients included adults aged ≥18 years, identified through purposive sampling. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic data. Snellen's chart for distant vision; reduced Snellen's chart for near vision and Ishihara chart for color vision was used. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 15. RESULTS: The study included 411 patients. Nearly 40% of the patients were ≥50 years. Among the patients, 195 (47.4%) had H/o refractive error, 78 (19%) had H/o hypertension, 56 (13.6%) had H/o diabetes, and 43 (10.5%) had H/o cataract. The most common ocular morbidity was arcus senilis 113 (27.5%) and cataract 28 (6.8%). Using Snellen's distant vision chart low vision (<6/18) was present among 91 (22.1%) and 15 (3.6%) had <3/60. Forty percent had low near vision (<N9) and 12 (2.9%) were blind (<N36) by Snellen's near vision chart. Abnormal color vision by Ishihara chart was seen among 3%. The prevalence of distant and near visual impairment was more among unemployed/retired (51.3%; 62.5%), aged ≥60 years (54.7%; 74.2%) and those with H/O chronic diseases (Diabetes –44.6%; 69.6% and hypertension – 48.1%; 65.4%). CONCLUSIONS: Farsightedness was detected among a quarter of the population, while impaired near vision was detected among two.fifths of the study group. Nearly 7% of patients had cataract and were referred for further evaluation. Advancing age and the presence of comorbidities were significant determinants of visual impairment.

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