International Ophthalmology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 123–129 | Cite as

Prevalence and causes of vision loss in central Tanzania

  • Peter A. Rapoza
  • Sheila K. West
  • Sidney J. Katala
  • Hugh R. Taylor
Geographical Section


A population-based survey of the prevalence of major blinding disorders was conducted in three villages in central Tanzania. Overall, 1827 people overthe age of seven years old were examined. In those age seven and older, the prevalence of bilateral blindness (visual acuity in the better eye of <3/60) was 1.26% and monocular blindness (visual acuity of <3/60 in one eye) was 4.32% and the prevalence of visual impairment (visual acuity <6/18 but ≥3/60 in both eyes was 1.04% and in one eye was 1.75%. Corneal opacities were responsible for 44% of bilateral and 39% of monocular blindness and resulted from trachoma, measles often in association with Vitamin A deficiency, keratoconjunctivitis, and the use of traditional eye medicines. Cataracts accounted for 22% of bilateral and 6% of monocular blindness. Readily preventable or reversible causes of blindness were responsible for 65% of cases of bilateral and 46% of monocular blindness.

Key words

blindness cataracts corneal opacity Tanzania trachoma visual impairment 



traditional eye medicines


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Rapoza
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sheila K. West
    • 3
  • Sidney J. Katala
    • 2
  • Hugh R. Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Helen Keller International, Inc.New YorkUSA
  3. 3.Dana Center for Preventive OphthalmologyThe Wilmer Institute and the School of Public Health The Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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