The Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) was conducted in order to design long-term strategies to reduce blindness in the background of non-availability of recent population-based data on various aspects of blindness. The objectives of APEDS were to determine the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment, prevalence of and risk factors for major eye diseases, barriers to eye-care services, and quality of life among the visually impaired. Multistage sampling was used to select 11,786 subjects of all ages from 24 urban clusters and 70 rural clusters in one urban and three rural areas belonging to different parts of Andhra Pradesh, with the aim of obtaining a study sample representative of the urban-rural and socioeconomic distribution of the population of this state. A total of 10,293 subjects underwent a detailed interview and dilated eye examination by trained professionals. The adjusted prevalence of blindness (presenting visual acuity <6/60 or central visual field <20 degrees in the better eye) was 1.84%, and moderate visual impairment (presenting visual acuity <6/18-6/60 or equivalent visual field loss in the better eye) was 8.1%. Cataract and refractive error were responsible for 60.3% of blindness and 85.7% of moderate visual impairment. Increasing age, decreasing socioeconomic status, female gender, and rural area of residence were associated with higher risk of blindness. Projections from APEDS suggest that there were 18.7 million blind people in 2000 in India, and that this number is likely to increase to 24.1 million and 31.6 million in 2010 and 2020 respectively, if the current trend continues. This review summarizes the findings of APEDS and discusses the implications of these data on the policy and planning of eye-care services.