Cataract blindness in Paraguay--results of a national survey

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2003 Dec;10(5):349-57. doi: 10.1076/opep.10.5.349.17326.


Purpose: To estimate the burden of visual loss and blindness due to cataract in people aged 50 years and over in Paraguay.

Methods: Forty clusters of 60 persons each who were 50 years and older (2400 eligible persons) were selected by systematic random sampling from the entire population of Paraguay. A total of 2136 persons were examined (89% coverage).

Results: For the population 50 years and over, the age- and gender-adjusted prevalence of bilateral blindness (VA < 3/60 with available correction) was 3.14% (95% CI: 2.2-4.4). The adjusted prevalence of bilateral cataract blindness (VA < 3/60) was 2.01% (95% CI: 1.3-3.0), making cataract the major cause of bilateral blindness in this age group (64%). The adjusted prevalence of bilateral severe visual impairment (VA < 6/60 with available correction) was 5.17% (95% CI: 3.9-6.7) and the adjusted prevalence of severe visual impairment due to bilateral cataract (VA < 6/60) was 3.09% (95% CI: 2.2-4.3). The cataract surgical coverage (persons) was 44% for bilaterally blind persons with VA < 3/60; 36% for persons with bilateral VA < 6/60; and 28% for any eye with VA < 6/60 due to cataract. With IOL implantation, 77% of the operated eyes could see 6/18, against 46% of the non-IOLs (p < 0.005), a significant better outcome.

Conclusion: There is a need to increase the cataract surgical coverage in Paraguay. The number of eye surgeons is adequate but the accessibility of cataract surgical services in rural areas and the affordability of surgery to large sections of society are major constraints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Cataract / complications
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraguay / epidemiology
  • Prevalence