Blindness and visual impairment in retinitis pigmentosa: a Cameroonian hospital-based study
André Omgbwa Eballe1, Godefroy Koki2, Claude Bernard Emche2, Lucienne Assumpta Bella2, Jeanne Mayouego Kouam2, Justin Melong3
1Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala; 2Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé; 3Translation Unit, Ministry of Public Health, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Aim: We performed a retrospective, analytical study in February 2010 on all retinitis pigmentosa cases seen during ophthalmologic consultation at the Gyneco-Obstetrics and Pediatric Hospital of Yaounde between March 2002 and December 2009 (82 months). The aim of this research was to determine the significance of blindness and visual impairment associated with retinitis pigmentosa in Cameroon.
Results: Forty cases were reported, corresponding to a hospital prevalence of 1.6/1000 (21 men and 19 women). The average age of the patients was 43.3 ± 18 years, ranging between 6 and 74 years. Bilateral blindness and low vision was noted in 30% and 27.5% of patients, respectively. The average age of patients with low vision was 40.38 ± 16.27 years and the average age of those with bilateral blindness was 51.08 ± 15.79 years. Retinitis pigmentosa was bilateral in all cases and isolated (without any eye or general additional disease) in 67.5% of cases.
Conclusion: Visual impairment is common and becomes even more severe with aging. Patients should be screened to enable them to benefit from management focusing on both appropriate treatment and genetic counseling.
Keywords: retinitis pigmentosa, Cameroon, blindness, Yaoundé
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