Pattern of ocular morbidity among children seen in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital
Background: Children are peculiar beings and their eye care needs are different from that of adults. This is because a delay in treatment for some causes of childhood blindness can lead to amblyopia. Furthermore, the number of “blind years” resulting from childhood blindness is more than double the number of “blind years” attributable to adult cataract. Therefore, there is a level of urgency about managing eye diseases in children.
Objective: This study was conducted to describe the pattern of ocular morbidity among children below 16 years of age seen at the Guinness Eye Centre, Lagos University Teaching Hospital with a view to determine the most common causes of childhood ocular morbidity in this centre.
Methods: A retrospective, descriptive study of new patients below the age of 16 years who presented to the Guinness Eye Centre, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) between January, 2012 and June, 2013. Children with no eye disorder and those who defaulted from clinic with inconclusive diagnosis were excluded from the study.
Results: A total of 4,253 new patients were seen over the eighteen months under review out of which 723 were analysed constituting 17% of all new patients seen in the clinic. The most frequently seen age group was 0-5 years (41.8%) with 74.3% of all the children presenting in their first decade of life. Refractive error (19.5%) was the most common ocular morbidity seen, followed by ocular trauma
(13.1%), allergic conjunctivitis (11.1%) and cataract (10.9%).
Conclusion: Refractive error, ocular trauma, allergic conjunctivitis and cataract were responsible for more than half of the ocular morbidities in this study. This information will help in prioritization of equipment acquisition for effective and efficient children eye care services in this centre in the face of limited resources.
Keyword: Ocular Morbidity, Children Hospital, Nigeria