Prevalence and causes of vision loss in central Tanzania

Peter A. Rapoza, Sheila K. West, Sidney J. Katala, Hugh R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A population-based survey of the prevalence of major blinding disorders was conducted in three villages in central Tanzania. Overall, 1827 people overthe age of seven years old were examined. In those age seven and older, the prevalence of bilateral blindness (visual acuity in the better eye of <3/60) was 1.26% and monocular blindness (visual acuity of <3/60 in one eye) was 4.32% and the prevalence of visual impairment (visual acuity <6/18 but ≥3/60 in both eyes was 1.04% and in one eye was 1.75%. Corneal opacities were responsible for 44% of bilateral and 39% of monocular blindness and resulted from trachoma, measles often in association with Vitamin A deficiency, keratoconjunctivitis, and the use of traditional eye medicines. Cataracts accounted for 22% of bilateral and 6% of monocular blindness. Readily preventable or reversible causes of blindness were responsible for 65% of cases of bilateral and 46% of monocular blindness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1991


  • Tanzania
  • blindness
  • cataracts
  • corneal opacity
  • trachoma
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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