Patterns of Eye Diseases in Children Visiting a Tertiary Teaching Hospital: South-Western Ethiopia
Background: About 19 million children worldwide live with visual impairments resulting from different ocular morbidities. This study aimed to identify the different causes of eye diseases in children visiting a tertiary eye centre at Jimma University Hospital.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of charts of patients of <16 years of age who presented to Jimma University, Department of Ophthalmology (JUDO,) between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. Data on age, sex, final diagnosis and treatments were collected and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. Ratios, percentages and associations were calculated, interpreted and discussed. P-values below 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: Three-hundred-eighty children were seen at JUDO in the year 2010, most of them repeatedly. We evaluated the reports of 341 children (53% males). Children aged 11–15 years constituted the largest group (37%). The commonest childhood ocular diseases diagnosed in 2010 were ocular surface and eyelid infections (30.5%), ocular allergies (28.1%), ocular traumas and injuries (15.5%) and refractive errors (5.8%). Avoidable eye diseases accounted for about 97% of ocular morbidities.
Conclusion: Infectious causes of childhood ocular diseases are the major reasons of visits of children seen at the Eye Department. Most of the ocular morbidities in children during the study year were either treatable or preventable. Further study on childhood eye diseases at community level is required to design proper preventive and curative strategies for childhood eye diseases in the region.
Keywords: Childhood eye diseases, visual impairment, Jimma, Ethiopia