Mass health screenings for the elderly have been undertaken in Kuopio since 1983. Three different age groups, 65, 70 and 75 years old are called for examination so that each group is examined at 5-year intervals. In 1989 an ophthalmologic examination was included in the protocol for those born in 1914 and 1924. A total number of 1133 persons were recruited, 833 (73.5%) of which actually participated in the study. Cataract was found to be the most frequent visual handicapper. Of participants with visual acuity less than 0.3 at least in one eye, cataract was observed in 41.7% of the younger and in 91.1% of the older group. Age-dependent macular degeneration and glaucoma were less frequent than cataract. Visual acuity of less than 0.3 in the better eye was observed in 5.5% of the older group.