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Title: CHILDHOOD BLINDNESS AND VISUAL IMPAIRMENT AMONG CHILDREN (2013)

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Objectives This research aimed to determine the magnitude, causes of blindness and visual impairment and spectacle use among children attending Ruharo Eye Centre. Methodology It was a hospital based descriptive cross sectional study, conducted at REC. The study population comprised all children below 16 years attending REC during the period of data collection and targeted all children aged less than 16 years, whose presenting vision was below 6/18 in the better eye and who consented/assented to participate in the study.WHO CB questionnaire was used, a variety of visual acuity tests were used depending on the age, children were examined and treated and those with refractive error were refracted and prescribed glasses. Data from the target population was entered into the designed WHO CB database then exported and merged with data from the study population which was entered directly into stata sheets. Stata11 software was used for analysis. Results In 3 months, a total number of 1082 Children were examined 586 male (54%). The mean age was 7.32 years (CI 95% 7.04-7.59). 67(6.19%) of children were visually impaired with a sex ratio Female/Male = 1:1. The Magnitude of Childhood Blindness was 27/1082(2.50%). The major site of abnormality leading to subnormal vision was the lens 18/67(26.86%) and 50% of these were post cataract surgery. Refractive error was the leading cause of visual impairment 13/28 (43%), and 59/67(8%) of causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment were avoidable. 9/24(37%) declared using the prescribed optical corrections but only 2/24(8%), were effectively seen using them Conclusion 2.50% of children seen at REC were blind; lens abnormalities were the major cause of impaired vision, and many of the children who would have needed glasses and/or low vision devices do not use them.

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