INTRODUCTION: We aimed to evaluate the causes of visual impairment and blindness in adults who applied to Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University Education and Research Hospital health board of disability.
METHODS: The records of 8924 patients were reviewed retrospectively and 887 adult patients were enrolled as two age-groups: 18-50 and ≥ 51 years. Using the United States criteria, three vision-based groups were formed; blindness, low vision and unilateral visual impairment.
RESULTS: Cataract (36.9%/55.9%), age-related macular degeneration (16.2%/19.4%) and diabetic retinopathy (15.8%/10.1%) were the leading causes of blindness/low vision. Retinal dystrophies (28.1%) and amblyopia (37%) were the main causes of blindness and low vision in the 18-50 age group, respectively. In the ≥ 51 age group, cataract was both the most common cause of blindness (42.6%) and low vision (62.3%). While amblyopia (22.2%) was the leading cause of unilateral visual impairment in the 18-50 age group, it was cataract (44.9%) in the ≥ 51 age group. The proportion of avoidable causes of blindness was 62.2% and 36.9% of them was treatable. Avoidable causes of low vision was 69.6%, of which 55.9% was treatable.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Early interventions for preventive and educative health policies should be developed at younger ages for aiming to guide the lifestyle trends of individuals in order to reduce the avoidable causes of vision loss and maintain a visual disability-free lifetime.