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Age and sex distribution of blindness in Ahoada East Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria
Background: Differences exist in the impact of blindness by age and sex; the overall risk of death being higher for blind males than females.
Aim: To describe the age and sex differences among the blind in Ahoada-East Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, Nigeria.
Methods: Age and sex data were analyzed for 24 blind persons seen during a cross-sectional, community-based study of blindness in Ahoada East LGA. A total of 866 subjects were studied and ocular examination included visual acuity, pen torch examination, fundoscopy and applanation tonometry. Ages were estimated from historic events or verified using hospital/immunization cards.
Results: Of the 866 subjects examined, there were 400 males and 466 females. Children and adolescents (0-19 years) formed 44.1% while those ≥ 60 years old were 16%. Of the 24 blind persons, 21 (87.5%) were over 60 years while 3 (12.5%) were less than 50 years old; the difference in age among the blind was statistically significant (P <0.05). The age-specific prevalence of blindness in the study population increased from 0.6% in adolescence to 38.3% in those ≥90 years. The sex specific prevalence of blindness was 4.5% for males and 1.3% for females. Males were more likely to be blind than females (Relative Risk=3.49, 95%CI=1.40-8.72).
Conclusion: This study found blindness to be commoner in the older age groups, and the male gender appeared to be an important risk factor. Eye health education must target such vulnerable groups. Males especially should be enlightened on social habits and environmental factors that increase their risk.
Keywords: Blindness, Age, Sex, Rivers State, Nigeria
Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1 (2) 2007: pp. 99-103