Blindness and Low Vision in Nigeria: A Review of Etiological Factors And Impact
AbstractBlindness and low vision have profound effects on the quality of life of persons affected as it reduces productivity and economic well-being of blind persons and their families. A review of literature of Blindness and low vision in Nigeria is done with emphasis on etiology and impact. Mismanagement of ocular manifestation of childhood measles and congenital anomalies accounted for 50.00% and 25.00% respectively of visual impairment among the inmates of the rehabilitation school for the blind in Afara- Umuahia, Abia State. In the Nigerian National blindness and visual impairment survey, cataract and trachoma (41.20% and 35.30% respectively) were leading causes of blindness and low vision. Cataract is a major cause of blindness in Africa. In the rest of the world, the numbers of visually impaired have increased due to uncorrected refractive error estimated to be responsible for about 42.00% of visual impairment and 3.00% of blindness. The fastest growing cause of blindness worldwide is glaucoma and retinal diseases. The causes were largely preventable. There is on-going research on advanced aids to assist the visually challenged. The burden and impact of blindness and low vision on quality of life of persons affected, the Nation and economy is enormous and undetermined. Mismanagement of ocular manifestation of childhood measles, congenital anomalies (in the young) and cataract were the most common causes of blindness and low vision in Nigeria followed by ocular trauma and corneal scarring. In order to promote visual health in the country, there is the need for Health education as to the importance of childhood immunization against measles and the routine immunization of adolescent girls against rubella. Cataract surgery and provision of low vision aids and devices for blind and low vision persons as rehabilitation are also recommended.
Keywords: blindness, low vision, visual impairment, rehabilitation, vision
JOURNAL OF HEALTH AND VISUAL SCIENCES (2013) VOL. 15 (1): 10 - 15
Copyright is owned by the journal