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Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences

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Visual Impairment and Ocular Findings among Deaf and Hearing Impaired School Children in Central Region, Ghana

GO Ovenseri-Ogbomo, CH Abraham, FE Kio

Abstract


The scourge of global blindness continues to be a concern for eye care professionals, International Non-governmental Development Organizations (INGDOs) and eye care workers. While emphasis has been placed on how to address this scourge in the general population, not much is being done among special needs group such as the deaf and hearing impaired. The study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of visual impairment and ocular findings among hearing impaired chil-dren in a school for the deaf in the Cape Coast Municipality of Ghana. A cross-sectional descrip-tive study design was undertaken amongst children in the school for the deaf who had been previ-ously diagnosed of hearing impairment or deafness. A total of 243 children underwent comprehen-sive eye examination in the school with prior approval from the school board. The mean age of the 243 children examined was 15.9 ± 4.0 years with a range of 9 – 27 years. Fourteen children (5.8%) had moderate visual impairment (WHO grade 1 visual impairment i.e. VA < 6/18 to 6/60) in the right eye, while 15 (6.2%) had moderate visual impairment in the left eye. Refractive error was pre-sent in 75 (31.9%) of the children with astigmatism being the commonest form of refractive error. Anterior segment abnormalities were present in 27 (11.1%) while posterior segment abnormalities were present in 25 (10.3%). The overall prevalence of visual impairment was 5.8% among hearing impaired school children in the Central Region of Ghana. There were ocular abnormalities that were previously undiagnosed among the studied population. There is the need for regular eye ex-amination for children diagnosed of hearing impairment.

Keywords: Disability, eye, ear, refractive error, ocular deviation .



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