Pattern of Ocular Morbidity in the Elderly Population of Northern India NC20-NC23
Dr. Vibha Florence Baldev,
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, CMC Hospital, Ludhiana-141008, Punjab, India.
Introduction: The frequency of eye diseases has been suggested to start increasing around 40 years of age, with an even steeper increase beginning around 60 years of age. Health promotions and curative and rehabilitative services for the visually impaired elderly population should therefore be a priority in the coming years especially in low and middle income countries.
Aim: To examine the changing pattern of ocular morbidity in the elderly population of Northern India and to determine the socioeconomic status in relation to ocular morbidities.
Materials and Methods: A team from the Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Community Medicine, conducted house visits and did a complete eye examination of 450 elderly subjects. They were selected by systematic random sampling from the data base available in the Department of Community Medicine.
Results: A total of 900 eyes were examined. Visual impairment and blindness was seen in 135 (30%) and 36 (8%) individuals respectively. The most common cause of blindness was cataract, followed by corneal opacity, glaucoma, refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, macular scar, age related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa. Visual impairment was more in individuals with low socioeconomic status.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that though cataract remains the main cause of blindness, there is an increase in blindness and visual impairment due to corneal diseases and glaucoma which was not seen earlier. The availability and accessibility to eye care facilities particularly for corneal diseases and glaucoma should be increased to reduce blindness in Northern India.