Profile of amblyopia at Sabatia Eye Hospital
Background: Amblyopia is a visual development disorder whose onset is in childhood. It becomes resistant to treatment after the critical age of 7 – 8 years when the visual system is estimated to have matured. Early
diagnosis is vital to the prevention of visual impairment caused by amblyopia.
Objective: This study aims to determine the proportion and profile of amblyopia among children who presented at the Sabatia Eye Hospital in 2014.
Methods: This was a quantitative, hospital-based, retrospective case series. All children aged below 16 years who fit the amblyopia case definitions and were seen at Sabatia Eye Hospital between 1st January and 31st December 2014 were included in the study. The 2014 outpatient records were used to recruit the study population.
Results: A total of 268 patients (451 eyes) were recruited in the study from the 4,269 files assessed, giving a proportion of 6.3%. Most patients [183 (68.28%)] had bilateral amblyopia. Refractive amblyopia (56.54%) was the most common type and it was predominantly due to ametropia. Two thirds of children with refractive amblyopia
presented after the age of 8 years. The second most common type of amblyopia was combined (31.49%) followed by sensory deprivation (9.31%) and strabismic (2.66%) amblyopia. Moderate amblyopia (58.47%) was more common than deep amblyopia (41.53%) and was predominantly due to refractive errors.
Conclusion: Refractive amblyopia is the most common type of amblyopia and has a predominantly late diagnosis. Pre-school vision screening programmes are recommended for early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Key words: Amblyopia, Paediatric ophthalmology, Kenya, Sabatia Eye Hospital, Strabismus, Refractive error, Sensory deprivation
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