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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 73-78

The burden of blindness and visual impairment according to age and gender: A case study of Emohua local government area, Nigeria

1 Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A A Onua
Department of Surgery, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0795-3038.189458

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Background: Visual impairment and blindness pose different degrees of public health and social problem among the different age groups and sex. The problems are worse in the developing countries due to ignorance and lack of adequate eye care services. Public information systems, epidemiological data, and funding for blindness programs are often lacking and have hampered comprehensive blindness control programs in the rural communities, a fact that underscores the importance of this study. Aim: To estimate the burden of blindness and visual impairment according to age and gender in Emohua local government area (LGA), Nigeria. Methods: A population-based descriptive cross-sectional study conducted between October 11, and November 29, 2014, in Emohua LGA. Three hundred and fifty-three inhabitants were recruited in the study through a multistage sampling method. Demographic data, detailed ocular examinations were recorded and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Results: The study participants were 164 males and 189 females (male:female = 1:1.2). The prevalence of bilateral blindness is 1.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78-2.5%) and unilateral blindness 2.5% (95% CI: 1.2-3.4%). Those who had various degrees of visual impairment in both eyes constituted 6.2% (95% CI: 5.7-8.5%) and 9.1% had unilateral visual impairment (95% CI: 8.7-9.7%). Cataract was the leading cause of bilateral blindness, accounting for 60% of cases, glaucoma (20%), and corneal opacity (20%). Conclusion: Blindness and visual impairment are more common in the older age groups and female gender in Emohua LGA. Government and nongovernmental organizations should step up comprehensive eye health care programs to realize the goals of Vision 2020.

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