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Prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision in leprosy villages of north eastern Nigeria
  1. C Mpyet1,
  2. A W Solomon2
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Jos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2076, Jos, Nigeria
  2. 2International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Anthony W Solomon, PhD International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK; anthony.solomonlshtm.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims: To determine the prevalence and spectrum of ocular pathology, and the prevalence and causes of blindness and low vision in leprosy villages of north eastern Nigeria.

Methods: People affected by leprosy, aged 30 years and above, resident in eight leprosy villages were invited to participate. Ocular examination was undertaken of each consenting individual.

Results: 480 people were examined. 456 (48%) of 960 eyes had at least one ocular lesion, but only 37% of all lesions were leprosy related and potentially sight threatening. The prevalence of blindness (VA<3/60 with available correction) was 10.4%. An additional 7.5% of subjects were severely visually impaired (3/60⩽VA<6/60). Cataract was the commonest cause of blindness. Other major causes were non-trachomatous corneal opacity and trachoma.

Conclusions: Blindness and low vision are highly prevalent among leprosy patients in this setting. Only a third of the burden of ocular pathology is related to the direct effects of leprosy. Efforts to reduce the backlog of cataract and trichiasis, to improve early detection and management of lagophthalmos, and to provide refractive services are urgently required.

  • MDT, multidrug therapy
  • PAL, people affected by leprosy
  • VA, visual acuity
  • blindness
  • leprosy
  • Nigeria
  • MDT, multidrug therapy
  • PAL, people affected by leprosy
  • VA, visual acuity
  • blindness
  • leprosy
  • Nigeria
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Footnotes

  • Funded by grants from Foundation Dark and Light Blind Care, Netherlands, and Netherlands Leprosy Relief.

  • Neither of the authors has any proprietary or commercial interest in the subject of the manuscript.

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