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Profile, Visual Presentation and Burden of Retinal Diseases Seen in Ophthalmic Clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors Nkanga D, Adenuga O, Okonkwo O, Ovienria W, Ibanga A, Agweye C, Oyekunle I, Akanbi T

Received 8 August 2019

Accepted for publication 21 January 2020

Published 4 March 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 679—687

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S226494

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Dennis Nkanga,1 Olukorede Adenuga,2 Ogugua Okonkwo,3 Wilson Ovienria,4 Affiong Ibanga,1 Chineze Agweye,1 Idris Oyekunle,3 Toyin Akanbi3 On behalf of The Collaborative Retina Research Network

1University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria; 2Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria; 3Eye Foundation Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria; 4Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo, Nigeria

Correspondence: Ogugua Okonkwo
Eye Foundation Hospital, 27 Isaac John Street, GRA. Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel +234 8035027308
Email o_okonkwo@yahoo.com

Purpose: To determine the burden of retinal diseases and the degree of visual impairment associated with each disease, amongst Nigerians.
Patients and Methods: This was a hospital-based multicenter, prospective, cross-sectional, non-comparative study conducted from January to December 2018. Data was obtained from consecutive patients with a retinal diagnosis presenting at the general ophthalmic and specialty retina clinics in four hospitals (three public, and one private teaching eye department) in Nigeria. Biodata, visual acuity and refraction, intraocular pressure, findings on dilated retinal examination, diagnosis and systemic diseases were noted. Degree of monocular and bilateral visual loss associated with each diagnosed retinal disease was summarized and p value was calculated using chi-square test. P < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Eight hundred seventy-six of 8614 patients had a retinal diagnosis; establishing a hospital-based retinal disease prevalence of 9.8%. Male:female ratio was 1.1:1. The mean age of study patients was 49.97 (standard deviation 17.64 years). Mean symptom duration was 21.63 months (standard deviation 41.94). The mean intraocular pressure was 13.87 mmHg. Forty-three different retinal diseases were diagnosed. The most common was retinal complications of diabetes, i.e., diabetic retinopathy (DR) alone, diabetic macular edema (DME) alone and a combination of DR and DME, which accounted for 13.7%, 5.6% and 9.3%, respectively (contributed 28.6% of the entire diagnosis). This was followed by retinal detachment (RD), in 219 eyes (15.4%), dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 124 eyes (8.7%). Nearly half of the eyes were blind or severely visually impaired. Blindness occurred in 34.1% of eyes; severe visual impairment in 8.2% of eyes and 29.7% had normal vision. There were 469 patients who had systemic diseases. The common systemic diseases were hypertension in 169 patients (19.3% of the total number of patients), hypertension and diabetes in 156 patients (18%), and diabetes alone in 98 patients (11.1%). Sickle cell disease was present in 1.5%.
Conclusion: There is need to invest in infrastructure, local training and development of systems for early detection and treatment of several retinal diseases in sub-Saharan Africa; DR and DME having the largest burden. Collaborative physician care and management of hypertension and diabetes could significantly reduce the burden of DR and DME.

Keywords: vitreoretinal diseases, sub-Saharan Africa, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, retinal detachment


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