A comparative analysis of avoidable causes of childhood blindness in Malaysia with low income, middle income and high income countries

Int Ophthalmol. 2015 Apr;35(2):201-7. doi: 10.1007/s10792-014-9932-x. Epub 2014 Mar 22.


To determine the avoidable causes of childhood blindness in Malaysia and to compare this to other middle income countries, low income countries and high income countries. Data were obtained from a school of the blind study by Patel et al. and analysed for avoidable causes of childhood blindness. Six other studies with previously published data on childhood blindness in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Indonesia, China and the United Kingdom were reviewed for avoidable causes. Comparisons of data and limitations of the studies are described. Prevalence of avoidable causes of childhood blindness in Malaysia is 50.5 % of all the cases of childhood blindness, whilst in the poor income countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Indonesia, the prevalence was in excess of 60 %. China had a low prevalence, but this is largely due to the fact that most schools were urban, and thus did not represent the situation of the country. High income countries had the lowest prevalence of avoidable childhood blindness. In middle income countries, such as Malaysia, cataract and retinopathy of prematurity are the main causes of avoidable childhood blindness. Low income countries continue to struggle with infections such as measles and nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin A, both of which are the main contributors to childhood blindness. In high income countries, such as the United Kingdom, these problems are almost non-existent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developed Countries*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Eye Diseases / complications
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence