Cataract blindness in Hungary

Gábor L. Sándor, Gábor Tóth, Dorottya Szabó, Irén Szalai, Regina Lukács, Anita Pék, Georgina Z. Tóth, András Papp, Zoltán Z. Nagy, Hans Limburg, János Németh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


AIM: To estimate the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment resulting from cataract in the population aged ≥50y in Hungary, and to assess the cataract surgical services. METHODS: A rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) was conducted. A total of 3523 eligible people were randomly selected and examined. Each participant underwent surgery for cataract was interviewed with regard to the year, place, and costs of the surgery. Participants with obvious cataract were asked why they had not yet undergone surgery (barriers to surgery). RESULTS: An estimated 12 514 people were bilaterally blind; the visual acuity (VA) in 19 293 people was <6/60, and the VA in 73 962 people was <6/18 in the better eye due to cataract. An estimated 77 933 eyes are blind; 98 067 eyes had a VA of <6/60, and an estimated 277 493 eyes had a VA of <6/18 due to cataract. Almost all cataract surgeries were conducted in government hospitals. The age- and sex-adjusted cataract surgical coverage with VA<3/60 in eyes was 90.0%. The rate of good visual outcome after surgery was 79.5%. Ocular comorbidity was the main cause of poor outcome (78.1%), followed by late complications (such as posterior capsule opacification) (17.2%), inadequate optical correction (3.1%), and surgical complications (1.6%). The main barrier to surgery in people with bilateral cataract and VA of <6/60 was 'need not felt'. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of visual impairment resulting from cataract is slightly higher than expected. The quality of the cataract surgical service seems adequate in Hungary. However, the number of cataract operations per year should continue to increase due to the increasing patient demands and the aging population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 18 2020


  • Blindness
  • Cataract prevalence
  • Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness
  • Visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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    Sándor, G. L., Tóth, G., Szabó, D., Szalai, I., Lukács, R., Pék, A., Tóth, G. Z., Papp, A., Nagy, Z. Z., Limburg, H., & Németh, J. (2020). Cataract blindness in Hungary. International Journal of Ophthalmology, 13(3), 438-444.