Visual impairment and blindness in rural central India: the Central India Eye and Medical Study

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The aim of the study was to investigate prevalence of visual impairment in rural central India.


The population-based Central India Eye and Medical Study included 4711 subjects with an age of 30+ years. Presenting visual acuity (PRVA) and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) were recorded. Visual impairment and blindness were defined using the World Health Organization (WHO) standard and United States (US) standard.


On the basis of PRVA and using WHO and US standards, 1049 [22%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 21.1, 23.5] subjects and 1290 (27%; 95% CI: 26.1, 28.7) subjects, respectively, were visually impaired, and 35 (0.7%; 95% CI: 0.5, 1.0) subjects and 116 (2.5%; 95% CI: 2.0, 2.9) subjects, respectively, were blind. The corresponding age-standardized prevalence figures were 17%, 21%, 0.5% and 2%, respectively. Using best-correcting glasses could eliminate PRVA-visual impairment/blindness in 729 subjects (67% of all subjects with visual impairment/blindness). On the basis of BCVA and using WHO and US standards, 333 (7%; 95% CI: 6.3, 7.8) subjects and 473 (10%; 95% CI: 9.2, 10.9) subjects, respectively, had visual impairment, and 22 (0.5%; 95% CI: 0.3, 0.7) and 31 (0.7%; 95% CI: 0.4, 0.9) subjects, respectively, were blind. Corresponding age-standardized prevalence figures were 5%, 8%, 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively. Causes for BCVA-visual impairment/blindness were cataract (75%), postoperative posterior capsular opacification (4%), surgical complications (2%), corneal opacifications (2%), age-related macular degeneration (2%), other macular diseases (1%), and glaucoma (1%).


Age-standardized prevalence of PRVA-visual impairment/blindness (WHO definition) in the adult population of rural central India was 17%. Most frequent cause was undercorrected refractive error. Supply of correct glasses is the most efficient way to improve vision in the rural central India.

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