A study of 288 cases was made of those registered blind and partially sighted patients in Lothian Health Board area. The purpose of this study was to identify the trend of the main cause of visual handicap in a general population. The registration rates were analysed by age, sex and causes. It was found that the leading causes for blindness were age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) (58.8%), chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG) (12.8%), proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) (4.9%), while for partial sight (PS) the main causes were age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) (57.1%), chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG) (8.8%) and congenital (4.7%). For both men and women the incidence rate of blindness remains low until the age of 65, followed by a considerable increase, especially after the age of 75. The male to female ratio for blindness was 1:2.06 and for partial sight 1:2.58.