Prevalence and determinants of corneal blindness in a Semi-Urban population of southwest Nigeria
Purpose: To determine the prevalence and determinants of corneal blindness in a semi-urban population of Southwest Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted over a period of two months from 3rd March to 30th April 2014. A multi-stage sampling method with probability proportional to size procedure was used to select 1002 participants. The study involved obtaining information from the participants on demographic data and ocular history suggestive of the causes of corneal blindness using interviewer-administered questionnaires. Ocular examinations of the anterior and posterior segments of the participants were performed using pen touch, magnifying loupe, slit lamp and direct ophthalmoscope. The data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software version 22. Summary statistics was presented using frequency tables, charts, means and rates. The level of statistical significance was set at 5%.
Results: There were 1002 participants (410 males and 592 females). Their age range was 5–92 years with a mean age of 43 (±17) years. Eleven participants (13 eyes) had corneal blindness with a prevalence of 1.1% (95% confidence interval: 0.5–1.7). Corneal blindness accounted for 9.6 and 20.4% of bilateral and unilateral blindness, respectively. The prevalence of corneal blindness in the communities was greater among the male respondents, the older age groups, the farmers and the participants with lower educational status. The major causes of corneal blindness in the study were post-microbial keratitis (36.4%) and trauma (27.2%).
Conclusion: Corneal blindness is still a major cause of both unilateral and bilateral blindness. Preventive measures for corneal blindness need to be further strengthened. In addition, affordable and accessible corneal surgery facilities should be established.
Keywords: Corneal blindness, developing countries, prevalence, semi-urban population