Original Research

The prevalence and causes of visual impairment in Dariyah, a rural community in Saudi Arabia

Waleed Alghamdi, Godwin O. Ovenseri-Ogbomo
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 80, No 1 | a579 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v80i1.579 | © 2021 Waleed Alghamdi, Godwin Ovenseri-Ogbomo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 May 2020 | Published: 09 July 2021

About the author(s)

Waleed Alghamdi, Department of Optometry, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia
Godwin O. Ovenseri-Ogbomo, Department of Optometry, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Benin, Nigeria


Background: Visual impairment is disproportionately distributed between rural and urban dwellers. Rural dwellers have limited access to the eye care services that are available in urban cities.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and causes of visual impairment in Dariyah, a rural community in the Qassim region, Saudi Arabia.

Setting: This research comprised a population-based assessment of the vision and visual status of the inhabitants of Dariyah community.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted amongst the inhabitants of the community of Dariyah. A comprehensive eye examination consisting of visual acuity, ocular health examination, objective and subjective refraction was performed. The examinations were conducted by registered ophthalmologists and optometrists from the Qassim University. Vision impairments were categorised according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Section 9D90, ‘Vision impairment including blindness’ (2018).

Results: In all, 68 (24.5%) participants had vision impairment (using the better-seeing eye), with refractive errors being the main cause of vision impairment. Other causes of vision impairment included cataract (20, 7.2%), trichiasis (5, 1.8%) and glaucoma (2, 0.7%). Refractive errors were present in 193 (69.7%), with astigmatism being the commonest refractive error. About 60% of those with refractive errors presented without spectacles for correction, and 20% reported that they had never had an eye examination. Refractive errors could not be determined in 19 (6.9%) of the subjects because of conditions such as matured cataract and other ocular abnormalities.

Conclusion: Uncorrected refractive error was found to be the leading cause of vision impairment in this rural community in Saudi Arabia.


refractive errors; myopia; astigmatism; cataract; vision impairment


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Crossref Citations

1. A comparative study of regional variations in common visual impairments among school-age children
Svetlana Ivleva, Muhammad Hajimajeed, Oxana Kartashova, Alexey Mikhaylov
Electronic Journal of General Medicine  vol: 20  issue: 5  first page: em504  year: 2023  
doi: 10.29333/ejgm/13264