April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
Prevalance of Blindness and Visual Impairment in an Urban West African Population: Tema Eye Survey
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. Bandi
    Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, Florida
  • D. L. Budenz
    Ophthal, Epidemiol & Public Hlth,
    Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, Florida
  • K. Barton
    Glaucoma Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, United Kingdom
  • W. J. Feuer
    Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, Florida
  • W. Nolan
    Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • L. Herndon
    Duke University Eye Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • J. Whiteside-de Vos
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • P. Egbert
    Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • G. Hay-smith
    St Barth & London NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom
  • Tema Eye Study Group
    Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, Florida
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  J. Bandi, None; D.L. Budenz, None; K. Barton, None; W.J. Feuer, None; W. Nolan, None; L. Herndon, None; J. Whiteside-de Vos, None; P. Egbert, None; G. Hay-smith, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH center grant P30 EY014801 and unrestricted grants from the Research to Prevent Blindness, Pfizer, Inc.,NY & Allergan Inc., CA
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 132. doi:
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      J. Bandi, D. L. Budenz, K. Barton, W. J. Feuer, W. Nolan, L. Herndon, J. Whiteside-de Vos, P. Egbert, G. Hay-smith, Tema Eye Study Group; Prevalance of Blindness and Visual Impairment in an Urban West African Population: Tema Eye Survey. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):132.

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

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Purpose: : To determine the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among persons 40 years and older residing in Tema, Ghana, West Africa

Design: : Population based cross sectional study

Participants: : Five thousand six hundred and three subjects aged 40 and over residing in 37 clusters randomly selected from five communities in Tema, Ghana, West Africa

Methods: : A proportionate random cluster sampling representative of the population was used in selection of subjects 40 and over in the city of Tema. The presenting distance visual acuity was measured at 4 and 1 meters using a reduced logMAR tumbling E chart and after autorefraction with trail frame of resulting refraction. Screening clinical examination was performed on all subjects and complete clinical examination by an ophthalmologist was performed on subjects with best corrected visual acuity less than 20/40 or failure of other screening test criteria in either eye, including optic nerve and macular photos.

Results: : 6806 eligible subjects were identified of which 5603 (82.3%) participated in the screening examination. 60.3 % of the subjects were female and 39.7% were male. The age (Mean ±SD) of subjects was 52.7±10.9. The prevalence of visual impairment was 17.1% and blindness was 1.2%. After cycloplegic refraction and spectacle correction by an optometrist, the prevalence of any visual impairment and blindness decreased to 6.6% and 0.8% respectively, suggesting that refractive error is a major correctable cause in this population. 85 subjects out of 5603 had presenting VA < 20/400 in the better seeing eye. Of these, 39 subjects could be corrected by refraction alone and the remaining 46 (27 cataract, 3 glaucoma, 5 corneal opacities, 1 retinal scar, 2 optic atrophy, 8 undetermined) had some underlying ophthalmic pathology.

Main Outcome Measures: : Blindness was defined as visual acuity (VA) in the better seeing eye of <20/400 or < 10 % visual field around central fixation. Visual impairment was defined as VA <20/40 but ≥ 20/400) in the better seeing eye.

Conclusions: : There is a high prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among those aged ≥40 years in Tema, Ghana. Refractive error is a major cause of visual impairment in this population.

Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • visual acuity 

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