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A nationwide survey of newly certified visually impaired individuals in Japan for the fiscal year 2019: impact of the revision of criteria for visual impairment certification

  • Clinical Investigation
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Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Purpose

To determine the status of visual impairment certification in Japan in the fiscal year 2019 and the impact of revising the criteria for visual impairment certification implemented in 2018.

Study Design

Observational cross-sectional study.

Methods

We requested welfare offices throughout Japan to submit data of age, sex, causative diseases, and visual impairment grades for newly certified visually impaired individuals aged ≥ 18 years during the fiscal year 2019. The certification was based on criteria of the Act on Welfare of Physically Disabled Persons.

Results

Altogether, data were collected for 16,504 newly certified visually impaired individuals. The most common age group was 80–89 years (29.6%), followed by 70–79 (28.2%) and 60–69 (15.3%) years. The most common causative disease was glaucoma (40.7%), followed by retinitis pigmentosa (13.0%), diabetic retinopathy (10.2%), and macular degeneration (9.1%). The most common impairment grade was grade 2 (40.8%), followed by 5 (21.2%) and 1 (17.0%). Compared to the fiscal year 2015, there was a considerable increase in the number of individuals certified with glaucoma in the fiscal year 2019. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the number of individuals with certified grades 1 and 2 visual impairment, with a decrease in the number of individuals with certified grade 6 visual impairment.

Conclusion

The changes revealed in this study were primarily due to the revised certification criteria implemented in July 2018, indicating that it is important to review the certification criteria and to repeat surveys similar to the present study.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Mio Nakajima, Asuka Inagaki, Yasuhito Goto, and other medical staff members at the Department of Ophthalmology in the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences for their contribution to the present survey. The survey was supported by Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants for Research on Rare and Intractable Diseases.

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Correspondence to Yuki Morizane.

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Conflict of Interest

R. Matoba, None; N. Morimoto, None; R. Kawasaki, None; M. Fujiwara, None; K. Kanenaga, None; H. Yamashita, None; T. Sakamoto, None; Y. Morizane, None.

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Corresponding Author: Yuki Morizane

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Matoba, R., Morimoto, N., Kawasaki, R. et al. A nationwide survey of newly certified visually impaired individuals in Japan for the fiscal year 2019: impact of the revision of criteria for visual impairment certification. Jpn J Ophthalmol 67, 346–352 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10384-023-00986-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10384-023-00986-9

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