Purpose To describe the age, gender specific prevalence and risk factors of visual impairment and blindness in Korea. Methods From 2008 to 2010, a total 14 924 randomly selected national representative participants of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey underwent additional ophthalmologic examinations by the Korean Ophthalmologic Society. Best Corrected Distance Visual Acuity was measured using an international standard vision chart based on Snellen scale (Jin's vision chart). Independent risk factors for visual impairment were investigated using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results The overall prevalence of visual impairment (≤20/40) of adults 40 years and older was 4.1% (95% CI, 3.6-4.6) based on the better seeing eye. The overall prevalence of blindness (≤20/200) for adults 40 years and older was 0.2% (95% CI, 0.1-0.3). Risk indicators of visual impairment were increasing age, low education status, living in rural area, being unemployed, being without spouse and the absence of private health insurance. The visually impaired were more likely to have eye diseases compared with the normal subjects, and they were less likely to utilize eye care. Conclusion The prevalence of visual impairment was demonstrated to be higher while that of blindness was similar to previous population studies in Asia or U.S. Sociodemographic disparities are present in the prevalence of visual impairment and more targeted efforts are needed to promote vision screening in high risk groups.
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