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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Ophthalmic Epidemiology
Title Prevalence of Visual Impairment and Blindness in Upper Egypt: A Gender-based Perspective
Volume 21
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 190-196
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09286586.2014.906629
Purpose: To estimate the prevalence, causes of and risk factors for vision loss in Upper Egypt.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, four villages in Upper Egypt were randomly selected; within these four villages, households were randomly selected and within the selected households all residents aged =40 years were enumerated and enrolled. Door-to-door eye examinations of household members were conducted. Data on relevant demographic and socioeconomic characteristics were collected. The prevalence and causes of vision loss and associated risk factors were assessed. Sex differences in prevalence and determinants were also evaluated.

Results: The prevalence of best eye presenting visual impairment, severe visual impairment, and blindness were 23.9%, 6.4%, and 9.3% respectively. The prevalence of blindness among women significantly exceeded that among men (11.8% vs. 5.4%, respectively, p = 0.021). The prevalence of cataract was 22.9% (higher in women, 26.5% than men 17.2%, p = 0.018). The prevalence of trachomatous trichiasis was 9.7% (higher among women, 12.5%, than men, 5.4%, p = 0.012). The principal causes of blindness were cataract (60%), uncorrected refractive errors (16%) and corneal opacities (12%). Age, sex, family size, illiteracy, unemployment, water source and sanitation methods and living conditions were the major risk factors for vision loss.

Conclusion: The prevalence of visual impairment remains high in Egypt, particularly among women. Risk factors for blindness may differ between men and women. There is a need for qualitative investigations to better understand the causes behind the excess in prevalence of blindness among women.

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