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Blindness came down by 30%, cataract still remains leading cause in India

Priyanka Sharma | Updated: Oct 09, 2019 18:33 IST

By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], Oct 9 (ANI): While cataract still remains the leading cause of blindness in India, the prevalence of blindness in the country has come down by over 30 per cent, revealed the findings of National Blindness Visually Impaired Survey (2019) as compared with 2006-07 National Blindness survey report conducted by the Union Health Ministry.
"The result of the findings has also stated that the cataract still remains the leading cause of blindness in India. This is basically due to the increase in life expectancy and greater size of an ageing population," Health Ministry official, on condition of anonymity, told ANI.
A Rapid Assessment Avoidable of Blindness (RAAB-6) methodology was used to conduct a survey. RAAB-6 is a highly accepted method which is being practised worldwide to detect the prevalence of blindness in people above 50 years of age.
The latest findings on blindness have been conducted on the basis of a new definition of blindness which India got in 2017 on the lines of World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria, a step which has drastically brought down the number of people considered "blind" in the country.
The survey was conducted in 24 States and Union Territories and about 1.11 lakh people were tested.
"In 2006-07, we had reported about one per cent prevalence of blindness in the country. At that time, the blindness survey was done on the basis of the previous definition under the National Program for Control of Blindness."
The WHO defines blindness as visual sharpness of less than 3/60, or a corresponding visual field loss to less than 10 degrees in the better eye, even with the best possible spectacle correction.
According to the new definition of blindness, a person who is unable to count fingers from a distance of three metres would be considered "blind" as against the earlier stipulation of six metres, which was adopted in 1976.
The report has also found out that visual impairment has gradually declined by about 50 per cent as compared with 2010 levels. "India is getting closer to achieve the elimination of avoidable blindness by 2020 global action plan of WHO."
On Thursday, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare will release the findings of the National Blindness and Visually Impaired Survey, 2015-19 in observance of the World Sight Day.
The health minister will also release the results of National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey, 2015-19. (ANI)

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