Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment; and cataract surgical services in Katsina state of Nigeria
  1. Manal Omran Taryam1,
  2. Muhammad M Rabiu1,
  3. Nasiru Muhammad2,3,
  4. Kehinde Oladigbolu4,
  5. Halima Abdurrahman5
  1. 1 Noor Dubai Foundation, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  2. 2 Ophthalmology Unit, Surgery Department, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
  3. 3 Ophthalmology Department, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria
  4. 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
  5. 5 Katsina Eye Center, Katsina State Government, Dandagoro, Nigeria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Muhammad M Rabiu, Noor Dubai Foundation, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; muhammad.rabiu{at}


Aim To generate data on blindness and visual impairment for planning and monitoring a comprehensive eye care programme in Katsina state of Nigeria.

Method A rapid assessment of avoidable blindness (RAAB) survey methodology was used to select 3120 persons aged 50 years and over. The sample was selected using a multistage cluster randomised sampling. Each participant had visual acuity and lens assessment. Persons with vision less than 6/12 in any eye were assessed for the cause of visual impairment. Persons with cataract were asked why they had not had surgery. Data were captured electronically with the mRAAB Android-based software and analysed with STATA V.14 software.

Results A response rate of 90.1% was achieved. The age-sex adjusted blindness prevalence was 5.3% (95% CI 5.2% to 5.3%). Women were 30% more likely to be blind (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.3). The principal causes of blindness were cataract (70%), other posterior segment (12%) and glaucoma (7%); 86.7% of blindness was avoidable. The prevalence of cataract blindness is 2.6% (95% CI 2.5% to 2.6%) with higher odds in women (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.3, p<0.005). The cataract surgical coverage <6/60 for persons was 28.2% and women were 45% less likely to have had cataract surgery (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.78, p<0.005). The major barriers to cataract surgery are lack of felt need and the cost of services.

Conclusion Katsina state of Nigeria has high burden of avoidable blindness affecting more women. The state eye care programme should have cataract services that are more accessible, affordable and gender sensitive.

  • Avoidable blindness
  • cataract surgical coverage
  • Nigeria

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors This research was conducted with the approval and technical support of the Katsina State Government. Study conception: MOT, MMR. Study design: MOT, MMR, NM. Data collection: KO, HA, NM. Data analysis: NM, MMR. First article draft: MOT, NM, MMR. Article review: MMR, NM, KO, HA.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Noor Dubai Foundation, UAE.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Human Research and Ethics Committee of the Katsina State Ministry of Health (Katsina MOH/ADM/SUB/1152/1/181) granted ethical approval for the study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon request.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • At a glance
    Keith Barton James Chodosh Jost B Jonas