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Blindness and visual impairment in a region endemic for onchocerciasis in the Central African Republic


AIMS A population based survey of blindness and visual impairment was conducted in the district of Bossangoa, Central African Republic.

Methods—A total of 48 communities were randomly selected, and 6086 people examined.

RESULTS The prevalence of blindness (visual acuity in the better eye less than 3/60) was 2.2%, and visual impairment 3.0% (6/24 to 3/60 in the better eye). The major causes of blindness were onchocerciasis (73.1%), cataract (16.4%), trachoma (4.5%), and glaucoma (2.2%).

CONCLUSION Around 95.5% of all blindness could potentially have been prevented or treated. Ivermectin mass distribution is hoped to prevent 50% of all forms of visual loss in the future.

  • blindness
  • onchocerciasis
  • central Africa

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