Sri Lanka - Eye Care Statistics
The World Health Organization reports that impressive successes in the quest to eliminate blindness have been made in Sri Lanka, an island nation located off the south-eastern coast of India, in recent years. This can be partially attributed to success in moving toward achieving some of the Vision 2020 priorities.
It has been estimated that the number of blind in Sri Lanka ranges from nearly 93,000 to approximately 150,000 individuals.Vision 2020 places the national blindness prevalence at 0.5% of the population, which falls within the ranges set by other studies. The major causes of blindness include cataract (responsible for up to 70%), refractive error, and glaucoma.
A 2000 study of blindness in Sri Lankan children estimated the prevalence of childhood blindness to be 0.3 for every 1000 children. This study examined blind school children in multiple countries and reported the prevalence of severe visual loss in the Sri Lankan students at 33.2%. This was the highest prevalence in the countries studied. In adults, Sinhalese ethnicity (which makes up 74% of the population)was significantly associated with developing age related macular degeneration.
Vision 2020 provides guidelines on the number of ophthalmologists needed for an area based on population. Sri Lanka has approximately 38 ophthalmologists which falls short of the minimum of 80 (4 for every 1,000,000 residents) recommended.The majority of Sri Lankans have never had an eye exam for a variety of reasons including the expense and a lack of access to care.A team of researchers conducted two studies examining cataract rates in rural Sri Lankan villages in 2009 and 2010. They found that 33.1% of adults studied had cataracts. The likelihood that an individual would receive cataract surgery increased with male gender and worse visual acuity. The most common reasons for denying surgical intervention were not being interested, fear of surgery, and a lack of awareness about cataracts and treatment.