Ocular problems of young adults in rural Nigeria
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Objectives: To determine the common eye diseases as well as the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment in young adult residents of rural areas of Anambra State, Nigeria. Materials and methods: Three rural villages in Anambra State, Nigeria were selected by simple random sampling. A structured questionnaire on demographic characteristics, symptoms and attitude to eye diseases was administered to residents aged 18–49 years. Ocular examination included visual acuity estimation, colour vision test, tonometry, refraction and ophthalmoscopy. Skin-snip was examined for microfilaria. Results: The common ocular problems in the 510 young adults examined were presbyopia (33.3%), refractive errors (41.1%), allergic conjunctivitis (8.2%), pterygium (8.2%), pingueculum (5.9%) and colour vision defect (2.4%). Bilateral blindness occurredin 1.2%, uniocular blindness in 0.8% and 1.7% had visual impairment in their better eyes. Glaucoma and sequelae of congenital cataract caused bilateral blindness while visual impairment was due to refractive errors, cataract, corneal opacities and uveitis. Trauma predisposed to uniocular blindness and visual impairment. Conclusions: Eyeglasses alone would alleviate visual impairment and ensure good near vision in more than 47% of the subjects. The prevalence of blindness could be reduced through early detection of glaucoma, congenital cataract and ocular trauma.
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