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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-21

Causes of visual impairment and blindness in Kaduna State Special Education School


1 Department of Ophthalmology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika-Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Otorhinolaringology, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. E R Abah
Consultant/Senior Lecturer Department of Ophthalmology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika-Zaria
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1595-1103.141387

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Aims and Objectives: To identify the causes of visual impairment and blindness in students of Kaduna State Special Education School (KASSES) and make recommendations for the planning of eye care, including prevention and management of the avoidable causes of childhood blindness in our environment. Background: Childhood blindness is one of the priorities of vision 2020: The Right to sight. The "blind years" attributable to childhood is comparable to that of age related cataract (the commonest cause of blindness worldwide). Significant proportions of the causes of childhood blindness are avoidable and can be identified after a screening exercise and treated. Periodic screening will also provide current data for planning and implementation of childhood blindness prevention programmes. Materials and Methods: All the students of the blind section of KASSES who were present during the study were examined and the Georgia Project's screening protocol for visual impairment in children was completed for each of them. The data was analyzed using Analyze-it V2.22 (2010) statistical software. Results: A total of 71 students were examined. M:F ratio was 1.7:1. The age range was between 6-29 years but 76% were within the bracket of 10-19 years. Seventy percent were blind, 21% had severe visual impairment, and 9% had moderate visual impairment. Cataract was the commonest cause of blindness (25.3%), followed by trauma (16.9%), optic atrophy, buphthalmos, and retinitis pigmentosa (12.7% each). Others were corneal scarring/staphyloma (9.9%), Rubella (7.0%), and a case each of bilateral ankyloblepharon and uveitis (1.4%). Conclusion: The causes of visual impairment in KASSES are largely avoidable. Incorporation of Primary Eye Care (PEC) into Primary Health Care (PHC) will drastically reduce needless blindness, especially in childhood and the morbidity and mortality associated with the blind years. Early identification of students with treatable causes such as cataract should also be encouraged through regular school screening and health education.


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