The aim of this study is to report on preliminary data regarding the prevalence of major eye diseases in Korea. We obtained data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nation-wide cross-sectional survey and examinations of the non-institutionalized civilian population in South Korea (n = 14,606), conducted from July 2008 to December 2009. Field survey teams included an ophthalmologist, nurses, and interviewers, traveled with a mobile examination unit and performed interviews and ophthalmologic examinations. The prevalence of visual impairment, myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism in participants over 5 years of age was 0.4 ± 0.1%, 53.7 ± 0.6%, 10.7 ± 0.4%, and 58.0 ± 0.6%, respectively. The prevalence of strabismus and blepharoptosis in participants over 3 years of age was 1.5 ± 0.1% and 11.0 ± 0.8%, respectively. In participants over 40 years of age, the prevalence of cataract, pterygium, early and late age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma was 40.2 ± 1.3%, 8.9 ± 0.5%, 5.1 ± 0.3%, 0.5 ± 0.1%, 13.4 ± 1.5%, and 2.1 ± 0.2%, respectively. This is the first nation-wide epidemiologic study conducted in South Korea for assessment of the prevalence of eye diseases by both the Korean Ophthalmologic Society and the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This study will provide preliminary information for use in further investigation, prevention, and management of eye diseases in Korea.
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