COECSA, Journal, Ophthalmology
Childhood blindness and visual impairment among children attending Ruharo Eye Centre


Childhood blindness
Visual impairment
Use of glasses
Ruharo Eye Centre

How to Cite

SC, U. ., BD, B., & J, O. (2020). Childhood blindness and visual impairment among children attending Ruharo Eye Centre. The Journal of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, 18(2). Retrieved from


Objective: To determine the magnitude, causes of blindness and visual impairment and spectacle use
among children attending Ruharo Eye Centre (REC).
Methods: This 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 presenting vision below 6/18 in the better eye and who consented/assented to
participate in the study. The 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. Stata11 software was used for analysis.
Results: In 3 months, a total of 1082 children were examined with 54% (586/1082) male. The mean age
was 7.32 years (CI 95% 7.04-7.59). Sixty seven children (6.19%) were visually impaired or blind with a sex
ratio Female/Male = 1:1. The magnitude of childhood blindness was 2.50% [95% CI=1.58-3.48] (27/1082)
and the total magnitude of visual impairment was 3.70% [95% CI = 2.58-4.48] (40/1082).
The major site of abnormality leading to childhood blindness and visual impairment was the lens
accounting for 26.86% (18/67) of all the cases. Fifty percent of these were post cataract surgery. Refractive
error was the leading cause of visual impairment accounting for 43% (13/28) of the cases. Eighty eight
percent (59/67) of the causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment were avoidable. Only 8% (2/24)
of children with confirmed refractive errors), were effectively seen using the prescribed optical correction.
Conclusion: In this study, 2.5% of children seen at REC were blind; lens abnormalities were the major cause
of childhood blindness and majority of the children who required glasses and low vision devices were not
using them.



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