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E. Mandara, L. Iacobelli, L. Mosca, R. Fasciani, S. Federici, E. De Simone; Reported Experience of a Group of Italian Ophthalmologists in Ghana. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4448. doi: https://doi.org/.
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to report the frequencies and causes of visual impairment and blindness in sub Saharian Africa (Ghana), focusing on the need of ophthalmic care in these rural areas.
the current study was carried out during a humanitarian mission in Comboni Hospital in Sogakofe, Ghana. A total of 1183 African people (from Ghana and Togo), with very wide age range (from 6-year-old to 104-year-old, as referred), were submitted to a complete ophthalmologic examination, including visual acuity checking (with illiterate C charts), refraction, tonometry, ocular slit lamp examination, inspection of adnexa, and dilated ocular fundus examination.
the more frequent ocular problems were refractive errors (12.5 %), allergic conjunctivitis (8%), glaucoma (21%), corneal disorders (2.5%), pterygium (8%), cataract (23%), ocular infection (5%), uveitis (3%), post-traumatic sequels (10%), retinitis pigmentosa (1.5%), tumors (0.5%), uncorrected aphakia (2%), other (retinal detachment, albinism, retinal vein occlusion, macular degeneration: 2%). A lot of them had never received appropriate ophthalmologic care. The most common cause of blindness, according to patients age, was ocular trauma for up to 30’s, glaucoma for 30- 50’s, cataract for over 50-60’s. About 15% of the patient were submitted to surgery: cataract extraction (ICCE 15%, ECCE 50%, PHACO 35%), glaucoma (Iridectomy, Trabeculectomy), pterygium, evisceration, vitrectomy, and secondary IOL implantation.
Cataract, glaucoma and ocular trauma are the most important causes of blindness in Sub Saharian region. Unfortunately, the social, cultural and economical problems of this region are the real cause of the visual impairment, weakening the effectiveness of the humanitarian help programs.
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