May 2007
Volume 48, Issue 13
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2007
Prevalence of Blindness and Ophthalmic Diseases in a Remote Rural Tropical Area - Screening of 1248 Citizens in the Ghanian Volta Region
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • A. Frimpong-Boateng
    Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • F. Rüfer
    Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • S. Fiadoyor
    Ophthalmology, Volta River Authority Hospital Akosombo, Akosombo, Ghana
  • J. Nkrumah-Mills
    Ophthalmology, Volta River Authority Hospital Akosombo, Akosombo, Ghana
  • C. Kandzia
    Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • J. Roider
    Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships A. Frimpong-Boateng, None; F. Rüfer, None; S. Fiadoyor, None; J. Nkrumah-Mills, None; C. Kandzia, None; J. Roider, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2007, Vol.48, 325. doi:
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      A. Frimpong-Boateng, F. Rüfer, S. Fiadoyor, J. Nkrumah-Mills, C. Kandzia, J. Roider; Prevalence of Blindness and Ophthalmic Diseases in a Remote Rural Tropical Area - Screening of 1248 Citizens in the Ghanian Volta Region. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):325.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose:: Ophthalmic diseases are supposed to depend on life conditions. Thus the need for ophthalmic care may differ in secluded rural tropical areas from that in urban settings. The following study provides data of the citizens of 8 villages in a secluded peninsula in the Volta river reservoir in Ghana which can be only accessed by boat.

Methods:: 1248 citizens were screened by 4 ophthalmologists, one optometrist and one ophthalmic nurse for eye diseases. After ophthalmic and general history visual acuity was determined. Patients with reduced visual acuity underwent refraction. The anterior segment was examined using hand slit lamps. After pupil dilation indirect binocular ophthalmoscopy was performed. Results were documented using a standardized WHO form. The prevalence of eye diseases was calculated. Blindness was defined visual acuity being 20/400 or less on the better eye, visual impairment 20/200 on the better eye. Visual results were calculated in logMAR.

Results:: 641 participants were female, 607 male. The mean age was 23.6 ± 19.1 years. 5.4% had refractive errors. 2.2% were myopic, 3.2 % were hyperopic. 94.6% were emmetropic. The overall mean visual acuity both of the right and the left eye was 20/25 (logMAR 0,1 ± 0,3). The prevalence of eye diseases were 8.3% pterygium, 17.5% Glaucoma suspicious optic discs, 1.1% manifest glaucoma, 5.0% vision impairing cataract, 3.8% presbyopia, 2.0% severe retinal disorders (e.g. toxoplasmosis, onchocerciasis), 1% corneal scarring. 1.5% of the population were blind. 1.8% were visual impaired. Causes of blindness were 47.4% cataract, 26.3% optic nerve atrophy (10.5% due to hereditary diseases, 15.8% due to unknown diseases), 5.3% Onchocerciasis, 5.3% retinal detachment and 5.3% glaucoma.

Conclusions:: The main cause of blindness was cataract. The second most cause turned out to be optic nerve atrophy, which was related half to hereditary diseases with history of consanguinity and half to unknown origin, which requires further research. Opposite to industralised countries only few refractive errors were seen, whereas glaucoma may be an underestimated problem in rural areas of African countries.

Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: natural history • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: risk factor assessment 
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