We studied 187 patients attending special educational institutions in Saudi Arabia who were blind before the age of 14. All patients underwent complete ophthalmological evaluation. The visual acuity in 31% of the patients was no light perception and in 58% light perception to counting fingers at 3 feet (1 m). 70% were blind before age 2. Prior to 1962 acquired diseases led to blindness in 75% of the patients. From 1962 onwards genetically determined diseases accounted for 84% of childhood blindness. 56% of this group were the product of consanguineous marriages. On the other hand in the group who acquired blindness only 14% were from consanguineous marriages (p less than 0.0001). We here describe guidelines for the prevention of childhood blindness in Saudi Arabia.
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