Causes of blindness in blind unit of the school for the handicapped in Ilorin Kwara State
Abstract1. To describe the causes of blindness in pupils and staff in the blind unit of the School for the Handicapped in Kwara State. 2. To identify problems in the blind school and initiate intervention. All the blind or visually challenged people in the blind unit of the school for the handicapped were interviewed and examined using a modified World health Organization program for prevention of blindness (WHO/PBL) childhood blindness proforma. Eighteen blind people constituting the pupils and staff were reviewed, 10 (55.6 %) males and 8 (44.4%) females. 7(38.9%) of them were between 6-15 years and 11(61.1%) were adults above 15 years. 16 (89%) of them became blind in childhood before the age of 10 years, half of these were already blind before age of one year. In the study population 17 (94.4%) had best corrected vision in the better eye between no light perception (NPL) and hand movement(HM) only one person (5.6%) had visual impairment with visual acuity of 4/60 in the better eye. Causes of blindness were corneal 22%, cataract 27.7%, glaucoma 27.7%, retinal/macular lesion 16.66% and lesion involving whole globe 5.55%. Blindness was avoidable in 77.5% of the people. None had improvement following refraction and no lesion was amenable to treatment at the time of review. Major needs identified were poor funding, late and poor enrolment. The identified causes of blindness were avoidable in three quarter of the cases. There is the need for early transfer of blind people for rehabilitation to enhance the overall development of the individuals. Public enlightenment was done to improve transfer, financial assistance was rendered, the vocational training section was equipped to allow internal generation of revenue.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 50(1) 2006: 23-25