Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness and Cataract Surgery Coverage Among Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (Rohingya refugees) in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

  • The study aim is to determine the prevalence and causes of blindness, vision impairment and cataract surgery coverage among Rohingya refugees aged ≥ 50 years residing in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

  • A Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) methodology was used to select 76 clusters of 50 participants aged ≥ 50 years with probability proportionate to size.

  • Cataract was responsible for 75.0% of blindness and 75.8% of SVI, while refractive error caused 47.9% and 90.9% of MVI and EVI respectively.

  • Most vision loss (95.9%) was avoidable.

  • Cataract surgical coverage among the blind was 81.2%.

  • Refractive error was detected in 17.1% (n = 622) of participants and 95.2% (n = 592) of these did not have spectacles.

  • In the full Rohingya cohort of 76,692, approximately 10,000 surgeries are needed to correct all eyes impaired (<6/18) by cataract, 12,000 need distance glasses and 73,000 require presbyopic correction.

  • The prevalence of blindness was lower than expected for a displaced population, in part due to few Rohingya being ≥60 years and the camp’s good access to cataract surgery.

  • It was suggested to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to include eye care among recommended health services for all refugees with long-term displacement.

Publication date

March 22, 2021




A. H. M. Enayet Hussain, Munir Ahmed, Jerry E. Vincent, Johurul Islam, Yuddha D. Sapkota, Taraprasad Das, Nathan Congdon, Lutful Husain, Gulam Khandaker, Mohammad Muhit, Mohammad Awlad Hossain, Danny Haddad
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