Blindness and visual impairment among the elderly in Ife-Ijesha zone of Osun State, Nigeria

Adegbehingbe, B. O.; Fajemilehin, B. R.; Ojofeitimi, E. O.; Bisiriyu, L. A.
March 2006
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology;Mar2006, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p59
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: To provide information on the prevalence of visual impairment, blindness and the leading causes of visual changes among the elderly in Ife-Ijesha zone of Osun state in Nigeria.Design: A cross-sectional descriptive community based study.Methods: All people aged 60 years or older were gathered at various centres in Ife-Ijesha zone of Osun State, Nigeria. They were all screened for various medical problems including eye ailments and blindness according to World Health Organisation (WHO) definition. Information was retrieved and clinical examination conducted by the ophthalmologist in the team. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistical methods.Results: Out of the 681 elderly who presented for medical check up, 445 had eye problems. A few 25 (5.6%) were bilaterally blind while 202 (45.4%) were visually impaired according to the WHO definition of blindness and visual impairment. Blindness was twice as common in men as in women and the difference was statistically significant (P=0.0001). Cataract (42.3%), glaucoma (32.4%) and uncorrected aphakia (9.9%) were the leading causes of blindness in 69 eyes while 80% of visual impairment was due to cataract alone.Conclusions: The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in this study population is high. These findings in a community where most of the elderly are fast losing traditionally accorded attention due to civilization and urban movement call for a great concern.


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