Eye Disease in the Elderly

The prevalence of blindness increases with age. The prevalence and causes of blindness also vary from one community to another depending on the age structure of the population and environmental conditions. In England and Wales (1980), the prevalence of blindness was found to be nine per 100,000 children under five years of age and 2324 per 100,000 individuals above 75 years.

A recent survey in the USA has shown that the incidence of cataract in the 45-64-year-old population is 5.6% for males and 2.1% for females. The incidence is slightly higher in the Negro population, and rises to 21.6% for males and 26.8% for females in the 65-75-year-old population. In the same age group (65-75 years), the incidence of AMD is 9.6% for males and 6.9% for females. Both these conditions are, therefore, common and they demand time and medical expertise, both at the primary care level and in hospital.

With increasing longevity throughout the world, especially in the developing countries, there will be a continuing increase in the number of blind people, especially those suffering from diseases related to age, such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

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