Unilateral childhood blindness: a hospital-based study in Yaoundé, Cameroon
André Omgbwa Eballe1, Emilienne Epée2, Godefroy Koki2, Lucienne Bella2, Côme Ebana Mvogo2
1Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon; 2Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Introduction: We performed an analytic and prospective study over a period of 12 months from January 2nd to December 31st, 2008, at the Gynaeco-Obstetric and Paediatric Hospital of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Our aim was to determine the prevalence and causes of unilateral blindness in school children aged 6 to 15 years.
Results: Among the 1,266 children aged 6 to 15 years who were recruited, 60 presented with unilateral blindness (4.7%): 42 boys (6.96%) and 18 girls (2.71%). The mean age was 10.15 ± 3.4 years. In patients with unilateral blindness, 65% was due to ocular trauma.
Discussion: The hospital-based prevalence of unilateral blindness in children is relatively high and ocular trauma is the leading etiology.
Conclusion: Unilateral blindness in school children is avoidable and its incidence could be markedly reduced by emphasizing an information strategy and education based on prevention of ocular trauma. Early management of nontraumatic diseases such as infantile glaucoma and some tumors could improve outcome and avoid blindness.
Keywords: unilateral blindness, ocular trauma, prevalence, education
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