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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Ophthalmic Epidemiology
Title Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness in two northern provinces of Burundi without eye services
Volume 19
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 211-215
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09286586.2012.690493
Purpose: To determine the prevalence and causes of blindness, severe visual impairment and visual impairment
as well as cataract surgical coverage in two northern provinces of Burundi for the purpose of planning
eye services.
Methods: The population-based Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness survey methodology was used.
Results: Of 3800 people enrolled, 3684 (97%) were examined. The sample prevalences of blindness, severe visual
impairment, and visual impairment were 1.1% (95% confidence interval, CI 0.8–1.4), 0.6% (95% CI 0.4–0.9),
and 1.7% (95% CI 1.3–2.1), respectively. The leading causes of blindness were cataract (55%) and posterior
segment causes (37%). Severe visual impairment was mainly due to cataract (43%) and refractive error (39%),
and visual impairment was mainly due to refractive error (67%) and cataract (18%). Cataract surgical coverage
by person at the level of <6/60 was 15%.
Conclusions: The low prevalence of vision loss in this area with no eye services and a low cataract surgical
coverage rate is surprising and possibly due to the effects of the previous years of conflict in which those with
decreased vision may have been most likely to perish. If this explanation is correct, then Burundi needs to
plan to deal with a markedly increasing prevalence of cataract in future.

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