Prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision among adults in Fiji

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012 Jul;40(5):490-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2011.02749.x. Epub 2012 Feb 20.


Background: To estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision among adults aged ≥40 years in Fiji.

Design: Population-based cross-sectional study.

Participants: Adults aged ≥40 years in Viti Levu, Fiji.

Method: A population-based cross-sectional survey used multistage cluster random sampling to identify 34 clusters of 40 people. A cause of vision loss was determined for each eye with presenting vision worse than 6/18.

Main outcome measures: Blindness (better eye presenting vision worse than 6/60), low vision (better eye presenting vision worse than 6/18, but 6/60 or better).

Results: Of 1892 people enumerated, 1381 participated (73.0%). Adjusting sample data for ethnicity, gender, age and domicile, the prevalence of blindness was 2.6% (95% confidence interval 1.7, 3.4) and low vision was 7.2% (95% confidence interval 5.9, 8.6) among adults aged ≥40 years. On multivariate analysis, being ≥70 years was a risk factor for blindness, but ethnicity, gender and urban/rural domicile were not. Being Indo-Fijian, female and older were risk factors for vision impairment (better eye presenting vision worse than 6/18). Cataract was the most common cause of bilateral blindness (71.1%). Among participants with low vision, uncorrected refractive error caused 63.3% and cataract was responsible for 25.0%.

Conclusion: Strategies that provide accessible cataract and refractive error services producing good quality outcomes will likely have the greatest impact on reducing vision impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Fiji / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vision, Low / epidemiology*
  • Vision, Low / etiology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*