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Causes of severe visual impairment and blindness Bangladesh -A study of 1935 children
  1. Mohammad A Muhit (mohammad.muhit{at}lshtm.ac.uk),
  2. Shaheen Pravin Shah (shaheen.shah{at}lshtm.ac.uk),
  3. Clare E Gilbert (clare.gilbert{at}lshtm.ac.uk),
  4. Allen Foster (allen.foster{at}lshtm.ac.uk)
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
  2. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
  3. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United States
  4. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

    Abstract

    Objective: To identify the anatomical site and underlying aetiology of severe visual impairment and blindness (SVI/BL) in children in Bangladesh.

    Design: National case series

    Methods: Children were recruited from all 64 districts through multiple sources. Causes were determined and categorized using standard World Health Organization methods.

    Results: A total of 1,935 SVI/BL children were recruited. The median age was 132 months, and boys accounted for 63.1% of the sample. The main site of abnormality was lens (32.5%), mainly unoperated cataract, followed by corneal pathology (26.6%) and disorders of the whole eye (13.1%). Lens related blindness was the leading cause in boys (37.0%) compared with corneal blindness in girls (29.8%). In 593 children visual loss was due to childhood factors, over 75% being attributed to vitamin A deficiency. Overall 1,338 children (69.2%) had avoidable causes. Only 2% of the country's estimated blind children have access to education and rehabilitation services.

    Conclusions: This is the first large scale study of SVI/BL children in Bangladesh over 2/3 of whom had avoidable causes. Strategies for control are discussed.

    • Bangladesh
    • Causes of blindness
    • Childhood blindness
    • pediatric cataract
    • vitamin A deficiency

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