Ocular morbidity pattern in Igwuruta, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State
Background: In spite of the global initiatives to eradicate all avoidable blindness by the year 2020, the prevalence of blindness and ocular morbidity is not reducing in the rural areas. This is due to an obvious paucity of properly trained eye care personnel based in these areas. For this reason, Salvation Ministries, a Church with headquarters in Port Harcourt in conjunction with volunteers organized a free eye care outreach to meet the needs of the rural populace.
Aim: To determine the nature and prevalence of ophthalmic abnormalities in Igwuruta.
Methodology: The eye camp was carried out through volunteer professional personnel; two Ophthalmologists, two Optometrists, two Ophthalmic nurses and ten non-professional assistants. Each subject seen in the camp had a detailed ocular examination including visual acuity, funduscopy, tonometry and refraction where applicable and collected data was subsequently analyzed using SPSS version 20. Minor surgical operations were also carried out.
Results: A total of 163 people were seen, comprising 57 males and 106 females (m: f=1:1.8) with an average age of 46.2 years (range 5- 87 years). Among them, 68.1% had normal vision, 15% had low vision, while 16 .7% were blind. Refractive error was the most frequent eye disorder encountered (45.5%), followed by allergic conjunctivitis (14.8), cataract (10.9%), glaucoma (8.9%) and pterygium (3.9%). Bilateral blindness was observed in 4.5% of them with cataract being responsible for 29% of the blindness. Other causes of bilateral blindness were glaucoma (14%), age-related macular degeneration, corneal opacity/corneal blood staining (9.2%), optic atrophy (1.8%) and retinitis pigmentosa (1.8%)
Conclusion: There is a high level of ocular morbidity and blindness in Igwuruta community. Refractive error, allergic conjunctivitis and cataract were the most commonly occurring eye disorders encountered while the commonest causes of blindness are cataract, glaucoma and ARMD.
Keywords: Ocular morbidity, Low vision, Blindness, Igwuruta community, Rivers State
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