Prevalence and burden of self-reported blindness, low vision, and visual impairment in the French community: a nationwide survey

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005 Aug;123(8):1117-24. doi: 10.1001/archopht.123.8.1117.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of self-reported visual impairment and its association with disabilities, handicaps, and socioeconomic consequences.

Methods: A national survey was conducted on a random stratified sample of 359 010 French citizens living in the community; 21 760 subjects were selected at random and 16 945 persons (78%) agreed to further questioning. Four thousand ninety-one randomly selected caregivers were interviewed. Four subgroups of subjects were defined (blind or light perception only, low vision or still have form perception, other visual problems, and no visual problems). These were compared after adjustment for age, comorbidity, and household size differences.

Results: The prevalence of blindness was 0.10% and of low vision, 1.94%. Subjects with blindness needed assistance with daily activities more often than subjects with no visual problems; they also needed more house modifications. Many subjects with blindness (46.8%) and subjects with low vision (29.0%) were registered for social allowances. Subjects with blindness had fewer paid activities (4.5%) than subjects with no visual problems (20.7%). Social allowances increased considerably (by 277) between those with low vision and those with blindness. Monthly household incomes were lower (P<.001) for subjects with low vision (1255) and blindness (1587) than for subjects with no visual problems (1851).

Main outcome measures: Collected data included social demography, home description, household income, handicaps, disabilities, social allowances, and daily activities.

Conclusion: The results demonstrate associations between self-reported visual impairment and daily living.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blindness / economics*
  • Blindness / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Self Disclosure
  • Vision, Low / economics*
  • Vision, Low / epidemiology
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*