Causes of blindness and visual impairment in a population-based sample of U.S. Hispanics.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Apr 01 2002

PubMed ID: 11927431

Author(s): Rodriguez J, Sanchez R, Munoz B, West SK, Broman A, Snyder RW, Klein R, Quigley H. Causes of blindness and visual impairment in a population-based sample of U.S. Hispanics. Ophthalmology. 2002 Apr;109(4):737-43. PMID 11927431

Journal: Ophthalmology, Volume 109, Issue 4, Apr 2002

OBJECTIVE To describe the causes of blindness and visual impairment in a population-based sample of Hispanics.

DESIGN A cross-sectional study.

PARTICIPANTS A random sample of 4774 Hispanic residents of Santa Cruz and Pima Counties in Southern Arizona aged 40 years and older who participated in Proyecto VER (Vision Evaluation and Research).

TESTING Subjects were interviewed and underwent a thorough ophthalmic examination. Presenting and best-corrected visual acuity was determined using the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocol, followed by a standardized ophthalmic examination to determine the causes of visual loss. Anterior and posterior segment specialists in ophthalmology confirmed the causes.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Causes of visual loss (best-corrected acuity worse than 20/40).

RESULTS The response rate of eligible participants was more than 70%. Best-corrected acuity in the better seeing eye worse than 20/40 increased from 0.3% in those aged 40 to 49 to 5.6% in those aged 65 and older. The leading cause was cataract, accounting for 42% of all visual loss, followed by age-related macular degeneration (15%), and diabetic retinopathy (13%). Among 14 people who were bilaterally blind, open-angle glaucoma was the leading cause. Women had higher age-adjusted prevalence of severe cataract compared with men and were more likely to be visually impaired from cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and open-angle glaucoma, although gender differences were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS Causes of visual impairment differ from those reported in Caucasian populations, with open-angle glaucoma being the leading cause of blindness. Further work on gender-based obstacles to eye care in the Hispanic community may be warranted.