All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

PLOS ONE  2012 

A Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness in Southern Zambia

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038483

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


Introduction A rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) was conducted in Southern Zambia to establish the prevalence and causes of blindness in order to plan effective services and advocate for support for eye care to achieve the goals of VISION 2020: the right to sight. Methods Cluster randomisation was used to select villages in the survey area. These were further subdivided into segments. One segment was selected randomly and a survey team moved from house to house examining everyone over the age of 50 years. Each individual received a visual acuity assessment and simple ocular examination. Data was recorded on a standard proforma and entered into an established software programme for analysis. Results 2.29% of people over the age of 50 were found to be blind (VA <3/60 in the better eye with available correction). The major cause of blindness was cataract (47.2%) with posterior segment disease being the next main cause (18.8%). 113 eyes had received cataract surgery with 30.1% having a poor outcome (VA <6/60) following surgery. Cataract surgical coverage showed that men (72%) received more surgery than women (65%). Discussion The results from the RAAB survey in Zambia were very similar to the results from a similar survey in Malawi, where the main cause of blindness was cataract but posterior segment disease was also a significant contributor. Blindness in this part of Zambia is mainly avoidable and there is a need for comprehensive eye care services that can address both cataract and posterior segment disease in the population if the aim of VISION 2020 is to be achieved. Services should focus on quality and gender equity of cataract surgery.


[1]  Pascolini D, Mariotti SP (2010) Global estimates of visual impairment. Br J Ophthalmol doi. pp. 10.1136/bjophthalmol–2011-300539.
[2]  Pizzarello L, Abiose A, Ffytche T, Duerksen R, Thulasiraj R, et al. (2004) VISION 2020: The Right to Sight: a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness. Arch Ophthalmol 122: 615–20.
[3]  WHO IAPB (2006) The VISION 2020 Action Plan, 2006-2011. Geneva.
[4]  Kalua K, Lindfield R, Mtupanyama M, Mtumodzi D, Msiska V (2011) Findings from a rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) in Southern Malawi. PLoS One 6: e19226.
[5]  Mathenge W, Kuper H, Limburg H, Polack S, Onyango O, et al. (2007) Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness in Nakuru district, Kenya. Ophthalmology 114: 599–605.
[6]  Mathenge W, Nkurikiye J, Limburg H, Kuper H (2007) Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness in Western Rwanda: blindness in a postconflict setting. PLoS Med 4: e217.
[7]  Habiyakire C, Kabona G, Courtright P, Lewallen S (2010) Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness and cataract surgical services in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 17: 90–4.
[8]  Kuper H, Polack S, Limburg H (2006) Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness. Community Eye Health 19: 68–9.
[9]  UNDP (2011) National Human Development Reports for Zambia.
[10]  Resnikoff S, Pascolini D, Etya’ale D, Kocur I, Pararajasegaram R, et al. (2004) Global data on visual impairment in the year 2002. Bull World Health Organ 82: 844–51.
[11]  Zulu F (2005) A situation analysis of eye care services in Zambia. Lusaka: Sightsavers International.
[12]  Central Statistical Office (2003) Zambia 2000 Census of population and housing. Populations projections report. Lusaka.
[13]  WHO Programme for the Prevention of Blindness (1988) Coding instructions for the WHO/PBL eye examination record (version III). World Health Organisation: Geneva. pp. 1–17.
[14]  WHO (1998) Informal consultation on analysis of blindness prevention outcomes. Geneva.
[15]  Lindfield R, Kuper H, Polack S, Eusebio C, Mathenge W, et al. (2009) Outcome of cataract surgery at one year in Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh. Br J Ophthalmol 93: 875–80.


comments powered by Disqus