Profile of Blindness and Low Vision at Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital (EBSUTH) Abakaliki
Background: Anecdotal data from EBSUTH suggest a high burden of glaucoma blindness.
Objective: To describe the causes of blindness among patients seen at the eye clinic of EBSUTH, Abakaliki.
Methodology: This is a prospective, descriptive study. The sample size consists of all consecutive new patients seen at the eye clinic over a 7- month period. The relevant data were the biodata, presenting visual
acuity (PVA) and clinical diagnosis for each patient. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 16. Analysis was by means of simple tables and pie charts showing frequencies, percentages and proportions. Relationship
between socio-demographic variables and PVA were tested using the chi squared statistic. Significance was set at p < 0.05.
Result: Out of 781 patients examined, 194(24.9%) were visually impaired. This includes 103 (13.2%) blind (PVA<3/60) and 91 (11.7%) with low vision (PVA <6/18 to 3/60), in the better eye. Age >40 yrs was 2 strongly associated with blindness (x =56.36; p=0.0001). Cataract and glaucoma accounted for 43% and 42% of blindness respectively. Causes of low vision were cataract 31%, refractive errors 24%, glaucoma 16%, pterygium 7%, Eye trauma 4%.,infective conjunctivitis 3% ,central corneal opacity 2% and others 9%.
Conclusion: Cataract and glaucoma were the commonest causes of blindness in this study population accounting for 85 % of the burden of blindness. The glaucoma blindness of 42% is higher than that obtained from similar studies in other centres. This calls for further studies to elicit the factors responsible for this.
Key Words: Blindness, low vision, visual impairment, glaucoma, Abakaliki - Nigeria