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T. Y. Wong, W. Wong, A. W. P. Foong, J. J. Wang, P. Mitchell, D. Heng, T. Aung, D. T. H. Tan, S. M. Saw, SiMES Research Group; The Prevalence and Causes of Visual Impairment in an Urban Malay Population in Asia: The Singapore Malay Eye Study (SiMES). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4899.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To describe the prevalence and causes of visual impairment and blindness in an urban Malay population.
A population-based, cross-sectional study of Malay persons aged 40-80 years residing in Singapore was conducted in 2004-6. An age-stratified random sample of 5,600 Malay names residing in south-western Singapore (1,400 from each age decade) was selected from a national database. Potential participants were contacted by telephone and home visits to determine study eligibility, and invited to a centralized clinic for a standardized assessment of presenting and best-corrected visual acuity (VA). Visual impairment was defined as presenting LogMAR VA<0.30 (20/40) and >1.00 (20/200) and blindness as LogMAR VA ≤1.00 (20/200) in the better eye. Prevalence rates were adjusted to the 2000 Singapore Census
Of the 5,600 names selected, 4,168 were eligible to participate. Of these, 3,280 (78.7%) were examined in the clinic, 41 (1%) were in their homes, 789 (18.9%) declined to participate and 58 (1.4%) were not contactable. Presenting LogMAR VA data were available from 3,273. There were 790 people who were visually impaired (crude prevalence 24.1% and age-standardized prevalence 17.5%) and 60 individuals who were blind (crude prevalence 1.8% and age-standardized prevalence 1.2%). Older people were more likely to be visually impaired (9.5%, 16.3%, 27.3%, and 47.5% among participants aged 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-80 years, respectively) and blind (0.6%, 0.4%, 1.7% and 5.2%). After adjusting for age, women had higher rates of visual impairment (21.3% vs 13.3%, p<0.001) and blindness (1.6% vs 0.7%, p=0.053) than men.
In Singapore Malay adults aged 40-80 years, 1 in 6 were visually impaired and 1 in 100 blind. Among Malay adults 70 years and older, 1 in 2 were visually impaired and 1 in 20 blind. Cataract and under-corrected refractive error are the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness.
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