Prevalence of Childhood Blindness and Ocular Morbidity in a Rural Pediatric Population in Southern India: The Pavagada Pediatric Eye Disease Study-1

Vasudha Kemmanu, Kaushik Hegde, Subramanya K. Giliyar, Bhujanga K. Shetty, G. Kumaramanickavel, Catherine A. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To determine the prevalence of childhood blindness and ocular morbidity in a rural pediatric population in South India. Methods: A population-based, cross-sectional survey of children was conducted in three phases in Pavagada and Madhugiri taluks (subdivisions) of Tumkur district in the state of Karnataka, India. In the first phase, trained fieldworkers screened 23,100 children. In the second phase, children with eye diseases were referred to the peripheral hospital to be examined by a general ophthalmologist. In the third phase, children with major eye diseases were examined by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Results: The prevalence of ocular morbidity was 2.66% (95% confidence interval, CI, 2.46–2.87%). The most commonly observed ocular morbidity was Bitot spots (1%) followed by refractive error (0.6%). In total, 18 children were blind and the prevalence of childhood blindness (best-corrected visual acuity <3/60) was 0.08% (95% CI 0.04–0.11%); 8 (44.44%) had retinal blindness, 5 (27.76%) had lens-related blindness, 2 (11.11%) had bilateral microphthalmos, 1 (5.56%) was blind due to anterior staphyloma in the right eye and anophthalmos in the left eye, 1 (5.56%) had bilateral uveal coloboma and 1 (5.56%) had cortical visual impairment. Conclusions: Nearly half of the blindness in the population was due to unavoidable causes (retinal). In addition to providing eye care services, an appropriate service delivery model would include the provision of rehabilitative and low vision services and implementation of genetic studies to understand the causes and increase awareness of inherited eye diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalOphthalmic Epidemiology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2016

Keywords

  • Blindness
  • India
  • childhood blindness
  • children
  • epidemiology
  • ocular morbidity
  • prevalence
  • visual impairment

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