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Original article

Prevalence, causes and magnitude of functional low vision in Sri Lanka: results from a national population based survey

Authors:

C. Gilbert ,

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, GB
About C.
Department of Clinical Research
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K. Edusuriya,

General Hospital, Kandy, LK
About K.
Department of Ophthalmology
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G. V. S. Murthy,

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, GB
About G. V. S.

Department of Clinical Research

 

Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, India

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H. B. Pant,

Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, IN
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E. Schmidt,

Sightsavers UK, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, GB
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S. Senanayake,

General Hospital, Kandy, LK
About S.
Department of Ophthalmology
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A. H. Athapattu,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About A. H.
Survey Optometrists
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M. D. Priyangani,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About M. D.
Survey Optometrists
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K. R. T. C. Bandara,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About K. R. T. C.
Survey Optometrists
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C. Rathnayake,

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About C.
Survey Optometrists
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Y. G. U. Jayarathne

National Blindness, Visual Impairment & Disability Survey, LK
About Y. G. U.
Survey Optometrists
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Abstract

Introduction

The following definition of functional low vision is used in surveys to estimate the need for low vision services: corrected visual acuity in the better eye of less than 6/18 down to and including light perception from causes not amenable to treatment. However, such data for Sri Lanka is lacking.

 

Objectives

To determine the prevalence, causes and magnitude of functional low vision in a nationally representative sample of adults aged 40 years and above in Sri Lanka.

 

Methods

Distance visual acuity was measured using a LogMAR E chart. If the acuity was less than 3/60 in either eye, the ability to see hand movements, count fingers or perceive light was assessed. All underwent autorefraction followed by subjective refraction and measurement of best corrected acuity if indicated. Participants with a presenting acuity of <6/12 in the better eye were examined in details and a cause of visual loss was assigned. Analysis included those who fulfilled the definition of functional low vision.

 

Results

Among those examined, 59 participants fulfilled the definition of functional low vision: prevalence 1.02% (95% confidence interval 0.77-1.31%). The commonest causes were complications of cataract surgery (42.4%), and posterior segment conditions (30.5%) principally and age related macular degeneration (5 cases) and other retinal conditions (11 cases). Based on these estimates, 77,600 adults in Sri Lanka may benefit from low vision services.

 

Conclusions

The prevalence of functional low vision is slightly lower than the prevalence of blindness from all causes. Complications of cataract surgery are potentially avoidable causes.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v63i5.8741
How to Cite: Gilbert, C., Edusuriya, K., Murthy, G.V.S., Pant, H.B., Schmidt, E., Senanayake, S., Athapattu, A.H., Priyangani, M.D., Bandara, K.R.T.C., Rathnayake, C. and Jayarathne, Y.G.U., 2018. Prevalence, causes and magnitude of functional low vision in Sri Lanka: results from a national population based survey. Ceylon Medical Journal, 63(5), pp.s40–s44. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v63i5.8741
Published on 31 Oct 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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