Causes of visual impairment among commercial motor vehicle drivers in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Background: Commercial motor vehicles are a very important means of
transport in Nigeria where most people do not own personal vehicles and the railway system is not functioning.
Aims and Objectives: The aim of the study is to assess the ocular health status of commercial motor vehicle drivers in Uyo metropolis and to determine the causes of visual impairment amongst them.
Materials and Methods: Uyo is the capital city of Akwa Ibom State in the
South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria with a population of 305,961
according to 2006 National population census. This is a cross sectional survey of commercial motor vehicle drivers in all the eleven functional motor parks in Uyo as at the time of the study. A total of two hundred and ninety-one (291) drivers who consented to the study were recruited, interviewed with a standardized questionnaire and examined. Examination included distant visual acuity with Snellen’s Chart and near visual acuity with near chart, tonometry using Schiotz’s tonometer; penlight and magnifying loupe were used to examine the anterior segment, color vision test was with Ishihara chart, funduscopy with direct ophthalmoscope and visual field assessment by confrontation amongst other tests. Data were analysed with SPSS10 soft ware package.
Results: Mean age of drivers was found to be ±41.5 years. Prevalence of road traffic accident (RTA) in the study was 24.7%. Human factor contributed 27.7% to the cause of accidents. Causes of visual impairment included refractive error, glaucoma and cataract.
Conclusion: There was no statistically significant association between RTA and visual impairment but there was statistically significant association between RTA and visual field defect (P=0.037).
Recommendation: Visual field assessment at least by confrontation should be made a requirement before issuance of motor vehicle driving licence and proper visual field assessment of suspected drivers be done by an ophthalmologist before issuance of license. A State-wide survey of visual status of commercial motor vehicle drivers is recommended.
Keywords: Cataract, drivers, refractive error, road, transportation.