Using registry data to characterize the incidence and causes of blindness in Oregon

Mitchell V. Brinks, Travis Redd, William E. Lambert, Tosha Zaback, Joan Randall, Teresa Field, David Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the United States, there is no reliable data to describe the prevalence of eye diseases leading to visual impairment and little active surveillance to address this knowledge gap. Data that is readily available from many state blind registries may provide helpful information on trends and causes of blindness. We analyzed new registrations with the Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) and Oregon State Department of Administrative Services (DAS) from 1961 to 2016 for causes of and trends in blindness. Persons with blindness self-refer into the OCB registry and the Oregon State Department of Administrative Services (DAS) includes those receiving social security disability financial support and other state services. Data for 9,273 blind persons registered were analyzed. The most frequent causes of blindness were age related macular degeneration (AMD) 3,308 (38%), followed by diabetic retinopathy (DR) 729 (8%), congenital conditions 697 (8%), optic nerve atrophy 611 (7%), glaucoma 549 (6%), retinitis pigmentosa 546 (6%), retinopathy of prematurity192 (2%), cataract 180 (2%), and trauma 174 (2%). The mean age of onset of blindness was younger for Blacks (31 years) and Hispanics (33 years) than for Whites (44 years). Analysis of state-based registries can provide useful and locally relevant vision and eye health data where little information is otherwise available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0220983
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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