Purpose: To estimate the prevalence, potential determinants, and proportion of met need for near vision impairment (NVI) correctable with refraction approximately 2 years after initial examination of a multi-country cohort. Design: Population-based, prospective cohort study. Participants: People aged ≥35 years examined at baseline in semi-rural (Shunyi) and urban (Guangzhou) sites in China; rural sites in Nepal (Kaski), India (Madurai), and Niger (Dosso); a semi-urban site (Durban) in South Africa; and an urban site (Los Angeles) in the United States. Methods: Near visual acuity (NVA) with and without current near correction was measured at 40 cm using a logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution near vision tumbling E chart. Participants with uncorrected binocular NVA ≤20/40 were tested with plus sphere lenses to obtain best-corrected binocular NVA. Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of total NVI (defined as uncorrected NVA ≤20/40) and NVI correctable and uncorrectable to >20/40, and current spectacle wearing among those with bilateral NVA ≤20/63 improving to >20/40 with near correction (met need). Results: Among 13 671 baseline participants, 10 533 (77.2%) attended the follow-up examination. The prevalence of correctable NVI increased with age from 35 to 50-60 years and then decreased at all sites. Multiple logistic regression modeling suggested that correctable NVI was not associated with gender at any site, whereas more educated persons aged >54 years were associated with a higher prevalence of correctable NVI in Nepal and India. Although near vision spectacles were provided free at baseline, wear among those who could benefit was <40% at all but 2 centers (Guangzhou and Los Angeles). Conclusions: Prevalence of correctable NVI is greatest among persons of working age, and rates of correction are low in many settings, suggesting that strategies targeting the workplace may be needed.
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