June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
The epidemiology of blindness and low vision - Results from the Gutenberg Health Study
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christian Wolfram
    Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Alireza Mirshahi
    Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Rene Hoehn
    Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Dagmar Laubert-Reh
    Preventive Cardiology and Preventive Medicine, Dept. of Medicine 2, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Philipp S Wild
    Preventive Cardiology and Preventive Medicine, Dept. of Medicine 2, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
    Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH), University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Norbert Pfeiffer
    Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Christian Wolfram, None; Alireza Mirshahi, None; Rene Hoehn, None; Dagmar Laubert-Reh, None; Philipp Wild, None; Norbert Pfeiffer, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 2104. doi:
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      Christian Wolfram, Alireza Mirshahi, Rene Hoehn, Dagmar Laubert-Reh, Philipp S Wild, Norbert Pfeiffer; The epidemiology of blindness and low vision - Results from the Gutenberg Health Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2104.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of blindness and low vision in a German adult sample.

Methods: The Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) is a population-based, prospective, observational single-center study in the Rhine-Main-Region in Germany with a total of 15010 participants and follow-up after five years. The study sample is recruited from subjects aged between 35 and 74 years at time of the examination. At baseline, participants undergo a standardized protocol with a comprehensive questionnaire, a general cardiovascular and ophthalmic examination, which includes slitlamp biomicroscopy, non-contact tonometry, fundus photography, central corneal thickness measurement and visual field testing. According to WHO-criteria blindness was defined as visual acuity (VA) in the better eye of 0.1 or less, low vision as VA less than 0.3.

Results: 14.672 subjects were evaluable. In the overall study population, blindness was prevalent in 0.18% (27 subjects), low vision in 0.43% (63 subjects), within the age group of 65-74 year old persons in 0.33% and 0.86% respectively. The distribution of cases with blindness or low vision was equal between both genders. Causes for blindness were often multifactorial: AMD, high myopia, genetic diseases and corneal pathologies were each found in 18.5%, glaucoma in 14.8%, previous pathologies (i.e. history of injuries, retinal detachments, tumors, vein occlusions) in 29.6%. No case of diabetic-related blindness was found in this study. In cases of low vision the following pathologic conditions were found: amblyopia (30.2%), previous pathologies (25.4%), AMD (20.6%), corneal pathologies (19.1%), cataract (17.5%), high myopia (15.9%), glaucoma (11.1%), genetic diseases (11.1%) and diabetes (3.2%).

Conclusions: In contrast to previous findings from registries, our population-based study reveals more complex and interacting causes for blindness and low vision. Future concepts for the prevention of blindness should address this complexity of underlying causes.

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