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Quality of life and visual function in Nigeria: findings from the National Survey of Blindness and Visual Impairment
  1. Hang My Tran1,
  2. Abdull M Mahdi2,
  3. Selvaraj Sivasubramaniam3,
  4. Murthy V S Gudlavalleti3,
  5. Clare E Gilbert3,
  6. Shaheen P Shah3,
  7. C C Ezelum4,
  8. Tafida Abubakar5,
  9. Olufunmilayo O Bankole6 on behalf of the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Study Group
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  2. 2Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, Nigeria
  3. 3International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, UK
  4. 4Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, Nigeria
  5. 5Ministry of Health, Dutse, Jigawa State, Nigeria
  6. 6Department of Ophthalmology, Lions Eye Centre, Isolo General Hospital, Lagos Sate, Nigeria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Murthy V S Gudlavalleti, Senior Clinical Lecturer, International Centre of Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E7HT, UK; gvs.murthy{at}


Aims To assess associations of visual function (VF) and quality of life (QOL) by visual acuity (VA), causes of blindness and types of cataract procedures in Nigeria.

Methods Multi-stage stratified cluster random sampling was used to identify a nationally representative sample of persons aged ≥40 years. VF/QOL questionnaires were administered to participants with VA <6/60 in one or both eyes and/or Mehra–Minassian cataract grade 2B or 3 in one or both eyes and a random sample of those with bilateral VA ≥6/12.

Results VF/QOL questionnaires were administered to 2076 participants. Spearman's rank correlation showed a strong correlation between decreasing VA and VF/QOL scores (p<0.0001) with greatest impact on social (p<0.0001) and mobility-related activities (p<0.0001). People who were blind due to glaucoma had lower VF and QOL scores than those who were blind due to cataract. Mean VF and QOL scores were lower after couching compared with conventional cataract surgery (mean VF score=51.0 vs 63.0 and mean QOL score=71.3 vs 79.3). Finally, VF and QOL scores were lower among populations with specific characteristics.

Conclusions Populations with the following characteristics should be targeted to improve VF and QOL: people who are blind, older people, women, manual labourers, people living in rural areas, those living in the northern geopolitical zones, those practising Islamic and Traditionalism faith, those not currently married and those who have undergone couching.

  • Nigeria
  • visual function
  • quality of life
  • public health
  • lens and zonules
  • vision
  • public health
  • epidemiology
  • glaucoma

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  • The Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Study Group: Abdullahi U Imam, Adenike Abiose, Elizabeth Elhassan, Fatima Kyari, Gabriel Entekume, Hannah Faal, Mansur M Rabiu and Pak Sang Lee and the other authors listed in the paper.

  • Funding The study was funded by Sightsavers International, Velux Stiftung and Christian Blind Mission (CBM). Accommodation for the survey team was provided by some state governments. Personnel were funded by their respective institutions (LSHTM; federal and state governments in Nigeria) and field allowances for the staff were borne by the international NGOs who funded the study. Costs for publication of the manuscript are being borne by the International Centre for Eye Health out of the grants provided for the study. HMT was supported by GWU SPHHS.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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