Blindness and visual impairment in a rural community in Ogun State, South West Nigeria
Objectives: This is a community-based study in which residents of Coker-Ilepa ward of Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, South-West Nigeria were examined to determine the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment serving as a screening exercise contributing to primary eye care programme of the community. The study aims to find out the prevalence and pattern of blindness and visual impairment in this community and to compare and contrast with other studies.
Methods: Five hundred and four (504) residents from 8 villages selected via multi-stage random sampling were interviewed and examined over a 15 day period and results analyzed with WHO Epi-Info 2002 software.
Results: Prevalence of blindness was 2.2% (95% CI 0.89 – 3.50, n=504) while that of visual impairment was 8.9% (95% CI 6.36 – 11.44, n=504). Blindness was also higher in the elderly (8.8% in those above 60 years compared to 1.4% in those between 40-49 years and 0% in those less than 40 years) and in females (3.5%) as against males (0.81%). Cataract is the commonest cause of blindness and visual impairment – 72.7% and 46.7% respectively followed by corneal scarring for blindness (18.2%) with refractive error being the second cause of visual impairment (26.7%). Glaucoma is the third most common cause of blindness (9.1%) and visual impairment (11.1%) respectively.
Conclusion: - The study shows a very high prevalence of blindness and with cataract responsible. The provision of adequate modern eye care facilities with surgical capabilities in the rural area in order to achieve the goals of Vision 2020 in the country is therefore recommended.
Key Words: - Blindness, Visual, impairment, rural.