Visual impairment and blindness in Hungary

Dorottya Szabó, Gábor László Sándor, Gábor Tóth, Anita Pék, Regina Lukács, Irén Szalai, Georgina Zsófia Tóth, András Papp, Zoltán Zsolt Nagy, Hans Limburg, J. Németh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness, severe visual impairment (SVI), moderate visual impairment (MVI), and early visual impairment (EVI) and its causes in an established market economy of Europe. Design: A cross-sectional population-based survey. Methods: A sample size of 3675 was calculated using the standard Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) software in Hungary. A total of 105 clusters of 35 people aged 50 years or older were randomly selected with probability proportionate to size by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Households within the clusters were selected using compact segment sampling. Visual acuity (VA) was assessed with a Snellen tumbling E-chart with or without a pinhole in the households. Results: The adjusted prevalences of bilateral blindness, SVI, MVI and EVI were 0.9% (95% CI: 0.6–1.2), 0.5% (95% CI: 0.2–0.7), 5.1% (95% CI: 4.3–5.9) and 6.9% (95% CI: 5.9–7.9), respectively. The major causes of blindness in Hungary were age-related macular degeneration (AMD; 27.3%) and other posterior segment diseases (27.3%), cataract (21.2%) and glaucoma (12.1%). Cataract was the main cause of SVI, MVI and EVI. Cataract surgical coverage (CSC) was 90.7%. Of all bilateral blindness in Hungary, 45.5% was considered avoidable. Conclusion: This study proved that RAAB methodology can be successfully conducted in industrialized countries, which often lack reliable epidemiologic data. The prevalence of blindness was relatively low, with AMD and other posterior segment diseases being the leading causes, and cataract is still a significant cause of visual impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018



  • avoidable blindness
  • epidemiology
  • rapid assessment
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

Cite this

Szabó, D., Sándor, G. L., Tóth, G., Pék, A., Lukács, R., Szalai, I., Tóth, G. Z., Papp, A., Nagy, Z. Z., Limburg, H., & Németh, J. (2018). Visual impairment and blindness in Hungary. Acta Ophthalmologica, 96(2), 168-173.