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A cross-sectional study of visual impairment in elderly population in residential care in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh: a cross-sectional study

Marmamula, S.; Ravuri, C.Sekhar.L.V.; Boon, M.Ying.; Khanna, R.C.

BMJ open 3(3)

2013


ISSN/ISBN: 2044-6055
PMID: 23503606
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002576
Accession: 051122631

To assess the prevalence and major causes of visual impairment (VI) in elderly residents of 'home for the aged' institutions in the Prakasam district in India. Cross-sectional study. 'Home for the aged' institutions in the Prakasam district in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. All 524 residents in the 26 'homes for aged' institutions in the district were enumerated. Prevalence and causes of VI; visual acuity (VA) was assessed using a Snellen chart at a distance of 6 m. Pinhole VA was assessed if presenting VA was <6/18. Torchlight examination and direct ophthalmoscopy were performed. VI was defined as presenting VA <6/18 in the better eye. Of the 494 participants examined (response rate 94.3%), 78.1% were women, 72.1% had no formal schooling. The mean age of participants was 70 years (SD ±8.6 years). VI was present in 280/494 individuals (56.9%; 95% CI 52.3 to 61.3). Over 80% of the VI was due to avoidable causes including cataract (57.1%) and uncorrected refractive errors (26.4%). Among 134 individuals who had undergone bilateral cataract surgery, only 78 (58.2%) individuals had presenting VA ≥6/18 and 13/134 (9.7%) participants were blind. There is high prevalence of VI in the institutionalised elderly population in the Prakasam district in India. A significant proportion of this elderly population with VI can benefit from spectacles and cataract surgery. Strategies are required to provide high-quality services to this population.

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