Study predicts 40 percent increase in blindness in Nigeria by 2020

September 8, 2009

By 2020, 1.4 million Nigerians over age 40 will lose their sight, and the vast majority of the causes are either preventable or treatable, according to the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Study Group.

In the September issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the group shares the second half of the results of the study, which examined almost 15,000 Nigerians over 40 between 2005 and 2007. The goal of the study (Causes of and Visual Impairment in Nigeria: The Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey) was to help Nigeria create a plan for its participation in the World Health Organization's VISION 2020: The Right to Sight Initiative, which is working globally to eliminate preventable blindness. The first half of the study appeared in Investigative Ophthalmology earlier this year.

About 23 percent had some sort of visual impairment, and 4.2 percent were blind. Cataracts were the most common cause of blindness, with glaucoma second. Refractive errors (which cause nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatisms) were frequently the cause of less serious visual impairments. Other common treatable or preventable causes of visual impairment included complications from diabetes, trachoma (a of the eye) and the parasite onchocerciasis, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of a black fly and is prevalent in Africa.

"The high proportion of avoidable blindness … means that appropriate and accessible refraction and surgical services need to be provided," the report states. "If priority attention is not given, the number of blind and severely visually impaired adults in Nigeria will increase by greater than 40 percent over the next decade."

The study noted that groups that had less access to health care were particularly vulnerable to preventable .

According to the study, "The difference in the prevalence of vision loss due to cataract between men and women, urban and rural areas, and levels of education in Nigeria almost certainly reflects access to services." The authors recommended vision care plans that target women, rural residents and the less educated.

Source: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.