Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of blindness and the pathologies that cause blindness in the Konya province of Turkey.
Materials and methods: The records of individuals over 18 years of age who applied to the health committee of Meram School of Medicine Hospital between January 2015 and December 2018 were evaluated retrospectively.
Results: After reviewing the records of 4,268 applicants, a total of 222 applicants were included in the study (159 patients with monocular blindness, 63 patients with binocular blindness). The most common causes of monocular blindness were optic atrophy (13%), amblyopia (11%), and phthisis bulbi (10%). The most common causes of binocular blindness were retinitis pigmentosa (28%), proliferative diabetic retinopathy (13%), and unoperated cataract (11%). The frequency of monocular blindness was 3.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.2-4.3%) and binocular blindness was 1.5% (95% CI: 1.1-1.9%) in the sample. The frequency of blindness increased with age, with a positive correlation between mean age and blindness (p=0.002). Monocular blind applicants had a significantly lower mean age than binocular blind applicants (48.8±13.3 vs. 55.0±13.1 years, p=0.002) and binocular blind women had a significantly higher mean age than binocular blind men (62.7±16.0 vs. 53.2±11.7 years, p=0.023). The prevalence of monocular and binocular blindness was significantly higher in men than women (p=0.032).
Conclusion: The results of this study show that many of the pathologies that cause blindness are preventable or treatable, and that blindness is associated with age.
Keywords: Blindness; cataract; prevalence; proliferative diabetic retinopathy; retinitis pigmentosa.