Causes of blindness and visual impairment at the school for the blind Owo, Nigeria
Aim : This study was designed to determine the causes of blindness amongst the pupils of the School for the blind ,Owo and also identify treatable causes of blindness in the study population.
Methodology : This study was conducted between November and December,2007 at the School for the blind, Owo. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Ethical Committee of Federal Medical Centre, Owo prior to carrying out this study. Sixty two pupils of the School for the blind and blind students in Owo High school were enrolled in this study. The subjects were interviewed and examined by the authors with the aid of WHO’S recording form for blindness and visual impairment in children. The data obtained with the study instrument was collated and analyzed with SPSS 12.0.1.
Results : Majority of the subjects: 55 (88.7%) were blind while the remaining 7 (11.3%) had low vision. Lens ranked highest amongst the anatomical sites of visual loss accounting for 24.2%,followed by retina (14.5%),optic nerve (12.9%) and glaucoma (12.9%).The main aetiological
factors were intrauterine (37.1%) and hereditary factors (21%). The commonest single diagnosis was cataract (21%) followed by glaucoma
(12.9%). Twenty seven respondents (43.6%) had treatable causes of blindness.
Conclusion : The lens ranked highest amongst the anatomical sites of blindness and visual impairment. The main aetiological factors were intrauterine and hereditary factors. The commonest single diagnosis
was cataract. Less than half of the respondents had treatable causes of blindness and visual impairment.
Key words: Childhood blindness, visual impairment, cataract, blind school and Nigeria.