, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 624-630
Date: 08 Sep 2012

Prevalence and causes of visual impairment in elderly Amis aborigines in eastern Taiwan (the Amis Eye Study)

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the prevalence and causes of visual impairment in elderly Amis aborigines in Eastern Taiwan.

Methods

Population-based cross-sectional study of visual impairment of elderly Amis (65 years of age or older). We conducted ocular examinations on 2,316 participants, which represent 61.2 % of the elderly population. We used WHO criteria to identify visual impaired subjects, and the causes were analyzed.

Results

Ninety-four subjects were identified with low vision and nineteen were blind. The prevalence of low vision was 4.06 % (95 % confidence interval, 3.26, 4.56 %); that of blindness was 0.82 % (95 % confidence interval, 0.45, 1.19 %). Cataracts (47.79 %) were the main cause of visual impairment, followed by age-related macular degeneration (15.93 %), corneal opacity (7.96 %), optic neuropathy (7.96 %), diabetic retinopathy (5.31 %), and retinitis pigmentosa (2.65 %). Glaucoma was a minor cause of visual impairment. There were no significant gender differences in the prevalence and specific causes of visual impairment.

Conclusion

The prevalence of treatable causes of vision impairment, for example cataracts and corneal opacity, is high among the elderly Amis aborigines. They would, therefore, benefit from a more aggressive and in-depth eye-care program as a blindness-prevention strategy.