Pattern of Eye Problems of the Elderly in a Nigerian Tertiary Health Institution.
The pattern of eye problems in 1,964 elderly Nigerians (972 males and 992 females) attending University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital over a 5-year period were reviewed and documented. This is aimed at determining the hospital incidence and pattern of eye problems among elderly Nigerians. retrospective case series study. The hospital case folders of the 1,964 patients aged 60 years and above seen at the eye clinic of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital between July 1999 and June 2004 were reviewed. Their ages range from 60 to 99 years with a mean of 65.8 (+ 8.4) years. Information on socio demographic characteristics, visual acuity and ocular diagnosis were obtained, collated and analyzed. The major ocular problems were Cataract (41.1%), Primary open angle glaucoma (13%), Allergic conjunctivitis (11.3%) and Refractive errors (8.9%). Ocular trauma was the least frequent diagnosis (1.4%). The hospital incidence for bilateral and uniocular blindness were 383(19.5%) and 813(41.4%) respectively. More than one third 771 (39.1 %) had visual impairment in the better eye. Bilateral blindness was found to be caused mainly by cataract (55.6%), Glaucoma (17.5%), uncorrected aphakia (8.9%) and age-related macular degeneration (8.1%). The high incidence of blindness is a cause for concern which requires clinical and political commitment of both policy makers and implementers. This study emphasizes the role of eye disorders as a serious cause of morbidity among the elderly in Nigeria. It stresses the need for increased health awareness and education especially with regards to regular eye examination so as to reduce morbidity and unnecessary complications. Furthermore there is an urgent need to subsidize eye care services for elderly Nigerians
Keywords: blindness; elderly; Eye problems; Nigeria
The Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 51 (3) 2007: pp. 29-32