Prevalence and pattern of childhood blindness in a resource limited teaching hospital in Nigeria

Adegbehingbe BO, Taiwo OA


Objective: To determine the prevalence and identify the causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment in a resource-limited tertiary hospital.
Design: Cross-sectional hospital-based study Setting: Eye clinic, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Osun, Nigeria
Subjects: 1,176 children attended between January 2001 and December. 2005
Results: The prevalence of severe visual impairment and blindness was 2.0% and 1.4% respectively. 345 (29.3%) children: 203 males, 142 females had vision below 6/18 in at least one eye, 117(9.9%) had severe visual impairment and blindness in at least one eye. The causes of both severe visual impairment and blindness were traumatic globe damage 25
(21.4%), childhood cataract 21 (17.9%), corneal opacity 16 (13.8%), cortical blindness 14 (12.0%), ocular infections 13 (11.1%), ocular tumor 11 (9.4%), and optic atrophy 4 (3.4%). Others were retinal lesions 5 (4.3%), congenital squint and glaucoma 3 (2.6%) each, and amblyopia 2 (1.7%).
Conclusions: A large proportion of children seen at the eye clinic were blind from preventable
or treatable causes.

Full Text:

Download PDF


World Health Organization. Preventing blindness in children. Report of a WHO/IAPB scientifi c meeting. WHO/PBL/00.77. Geneva: WHO, 2000.

Gilbert CE, Anderton L, Dandona L. Prevalence of blindness and vi sual impairment in children—a review of available data. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 1999;6:73– 81

World Health Organization. Global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness. WHO/PBL/97.61. Geneva: WHO, 1997.

Gilbert C. New issues in childhood blindness. J Comm. Eye Health 2001; 14:53–6.

United Nations Children’s Fund. The state of world’s children 2001: early childhood. New York: UNICEF.

Sandford-Smith JH, Whittle HC. Corneal ulceration following measles in Nigerian Children. Brit J Ophthalmol. 1979; 63: 720-724.

Abiose A. Paediatric ophthalmic problems in Nigeria. J. Trop. Paediatr.1985; 31: 30-35

Elebesunu M. Aetiology of childhood blindness in Benin City, Nigeria. Public Health, 1987; 101: 59-62

Magulike NC, Ezepue UF. Corneal disease and childhood blindness. A retrospective hospital based study. Nigerian Journal of Ophthal mology. 1993; 2: 75-79

Onyekwe LO. Uniocular blindness among school children at Jos, Nigeria. Tropical Journal of Medical Research 1998; 2(1): 24-27

Gilbert C, Foster A. Childhood blindness in the context of Vision 2020—the right to sight. Bull World Health Organ 2001;79:227–32

Gilbert C, Foster A, Negrel D. Childhood blindness: a new form for recording visual loss in children. Bull World Health Organ 1993; 71:485–9.

Rabiu M.M, Kyari F. Vitamin A defi ciency in Nigeria. Niger J Med, 2002 Jan –Mar 11(1): 6.

Ajaiyeoba A. Childhood eye diseases in Ibadan. Afr J Med Sci 1994 Sept, 23 (3):227-31

Ezegwui R, Ezepue UF. Causes of childhood blindness: results from schools for the blind in South Eastern Nig. B.J. Ophthalmol 2003; 87; 20-3.

Ajibode H A. The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Ophthalmology. 1999; 7(1): 23-27.

Rahi JS, Gilbert CE, Foster A, Minassian D. Measuring the burden of childhood blindness. Br J Ophthamol 1999 Apr; 83 (4): 387-8

Gilbert CE, Anderton L, Dandona L, Foster A. Prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in children-a review of available data. Ophthalmic epidermiol 1999: 6; 73-81.

Ojinnika NC and Iloeje SO. Neurological complications of childhood bacterial meningitis as seen in Enugu. Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics 1998; 25(2-4): 53-56

Drymalski WG. Cortical blindness. Postgraduate medicine 1980; 67 (4): 149-156.

Foster A. Childhood blindness. Eye 1988, 2 supplement:S27-S36

Faal H, Minassian D, Sowa S, Foster A: National Survey of blindness and low vision in The Gambia: Results. Br J Ophthalmol 1989, 73; 82-7

Magulike NC, Ezepue UF. Corneal diseases and childhood blindness. A retrospective hospital based study.Nigerian Journal of Ophthalmology 1993; 2: 75- 79