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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-26

Causes of Childhood Blindness in a Tertiary Hospital in Lagos

Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
F B Akinsola
Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos P.M.B. 12003, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: To identify the causes of childhood blindness seen in children 16 years and below in Lagos, Nigeria. Materials and Method: The case notes of children aged 16 years and below seen between November 1994 and June 1998, at the Guinness Eye Centre, L.U.T.H., Lagos were analyzed for age, sex, visual acuity, pregnancy, antenatal, delivery and post-natal history. The feeding pattern, milestones and immunization status were also documented. Result: Out of a total 7,599 new cases, 1,068 (14.1%) were children aged 16 years and below. Sixty-six (6.1%) of these children were blind on presentation and discharge. The causes of bilateral childhood blindness include congenital and developmental cataracts, cortical blindness, congenital glaucoma and complications of measles and harmful traditional eye medications. Trauma related causes of blindness like traumatic cataract, hyphaema and chemical burns were the commonest cause of uni-ocular blindness. Conclusion: Congenital and childhood eye diseases as well as trauma related complications are the common causes of blindness (bilateral and uni-ocular) seen in these children. Recommendation: Prevention of childhood blindness through health education, good nutrition, prompt and adequate treatment of these children on presentation and avoidance of use of harmful traditional eye medications is advocated.

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