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Prevalence of low vision among adults in Galle District, Sri Lanka

Authors:

H. A. Ubeysekara ,

Provincial Director of Health Services Office, Southern Province, LK
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W. M. D. G. B Wijayaratne,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, LK
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P. Fonseka,

Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, LK
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S. Wimalasundara

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: The global initiative to prevent avoidable blindness in the world has taken several measures        to accomplish their theme “Vision 2020 – Right to Sight”. However, visual problems still remain among the least priority in preventive care. Visual impairment is common after 40 years of age. Thus, it is important to identify the problem of low vision in the community where majority can be easily identified and corrected with minimum cost. This study was aimed to determine the prevalence of low vision among adults aged 40 - 60 years in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

Methods: A Community based cross sectional study conducted in Galle District among adults aged 40 - 60 years. Multistage cluster-sampling method was adapted to select subjects from both urban and rural areas in the district. An interviewer administered questionnaire was administered to collect their demographic and social information followed by checking the visual acuity (VA), using the Snellen chart in the standard manner.

Results: A sample of 708 people recruited and the majority (30.8%, n=218) were in the 40-44 years age group with a mean age of 49.0 (SD  6.2) years. There were 52.3% (n=370) females in the study sample with a male, female ratio of 1 : 1.09. Of the study sample, 88.9% (n=630) were from the rural sector. The prevalence of low vision and blindness for the uncorrected VA was 37.1% (n=263) (CI 95% 33.5 - 40.7) and 0.6% (n=4) (CI 95% 0.56 - 0.65) respectively. Thus the total with visual impairment in the study sample was 37.7% (n=267). When considering the presenting VA, the prevalence of low vision and blindness was 28.1% (n=199) (95% CI: 24.8 - 31.4) and 0.4% (n=03) (95% CI: 0.37 - 0.43) respectively. The total visual impairment of the study sample was 28.5% (n=202). Among all people with visual impairment, 24.3% (65/267) have already corrected their defects.

Conclusions and Recommendations: T
he prevalence of uncorrected low vision among adults aged 40 - 60 years in Galle district was approximately thirty seven percent. Majority of people with visual impairment have not corrected their defects. Therefore, the policy makers and the health planners have to look into this problem to address the correctable proportion with low vision in this population.
Keywords: Adults, Low vision
How to Cite: Ubeysekara, H.A., Wijayaratne, W.M.D.G.B., Fonseka, P. and Wimalasundara, S., 2020. Prevalence of low vision among adults in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Galle Medical Journal, 25(1), pp.19–26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/gmj.v25i1.8012
Published on 10 Apr 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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