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R. R. Bourne, J. L. Leasher, J. E. Keefe, S. Gichuhi, K. Naidoo, D. Pascolini, T. Wong, R. Dandona, H. R. Taylor, P. C. Sieving; Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD)- The Vision Loss Group: Methodology and Results of Systematic Review. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2493.
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The new GBD Study is the first major effort since the original 1990 study was completed to carry out a complete systematic assessment of population data on all diseases and injuries to produce estimates of their burden for 1990 and 2005. The Vision Loss group is responsible for estimating the burden of visual impairment (VI).
Case definitions for 6 levels of presenting vision loss (sequelae) were agreed in the better seeing eye: i. Distance mild VI (visual acuity, VA of <6/12 but ≥6/18), ii. Distance moderate VI (VA of <6/18 but ≥6/60), iii. Distance severe VI (VA of <6/60 but ≥3/60), iv. Distance vision blindness (VA <3/60 &/or <10% visual field around central fixation), v. Near VI (near VA <0.5 but ≥0.05 with a distance VA≥6/12), vi. Near vision blindness (near VA <0.05 with distance VA≥6/12). We conducted a search of Medline (PubMed), Embase and the WHO Library using search terms that included eye diseases, visual sequelae and epidemiological terms for articles published between 1980 and 2008. All non population-based studies were excluded. Full text articles were reviewed for eligibility and a quality assessment tool applied. Data abstracted yields age and sex-specific prevalence and incidence of visual sequelae, with cause-specific breakdown where possible.
The search strategy yielded 10,871 articles. The breakdown by global region was as follows: Europe (33%), North America (25%), Asia (21%), Africa (12%), Australasia and Oceania (5%), Latin America (3%), Caribbean (1%). Further results will be available in Spring 2009.
We aim to improve the accuracy of the global visual burden estimate by incorporating a wealth of recent population-based studies, incorporating new methods of estimating disease burden, reducing the threshold of VI to 6/12, reporting on presenting VA rather than best-corrected visual acuity, and involving estimates of near VI for the first time.
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