Authors
Gyawali, Rajendra MOptom, FAAO; Moodley, Vanessa R. BOptom, MOptom, PhD

Causes of Childhood Vision Impairment in the School for the Blind in Eritrea

publication date
August 3, 2017
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Abstract/Introduction

SIGNIFICANCE 

Our study provides the much-needed evidence on causes of childhood blindness in Eritrea. This will assist authorities to plan appropriate strategies and implement preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services to address these causes of vision loss in children in this resource-limited country.

PURPOSE 

This study aims to identify the causes of severe vision impairment and blindness in children attending the only school for the blind in Eritrea.

METHODS 

All children enrolled in the school were examined, and the World Health Organization form for the examination of visually impaired children was used to record the data. Examination included visual acuity, refraction, anterior segment, and fundus assessment. Causes of vision loss for children with severe vision impairment (visual acuity <6/60 to 3/60) and blindness (visual acuity <3/60) are reported. Causes were classified by the anatomical site affected and by underlying etiology based on the timing of the insult and causal factor.


Conclusion/Results

RESULTS 

A total of 92 children were examined, and 71 (77.2%) of them had severe vision impairment and blindness. The major causes of vision loss were corneal scars (16.9%), cataract (12.7%), phthisis bulbi (11.3%), congenital eye deformities (11.3%), optic atrophy (9.3%), and presumed chorioretinal Toxoplasma scars (7.0%). Hereditary factors were the major known etiological category (15.5%) followed by the sequel of eye injuries (12.7%). Blindness due to vitamin A deficiency was not found, whereas infectious causes such as measles and ophthalmia neonatorum were relatively absent (one case each). Potentially avoidable causes of vision impairment were accounted for in 47.9% of children.

CONCLUSIONS 

This study provides the first direct evidence on childhood vision impairment in Eritrea. Despite the limitations, it is clearly shown that nearly half of the vision loss is due to avoidable causes. Thus, preventive public health strategies, specialist pediatric eye care, and rehabilitative services are recommended to address childhood vision impairment in Eritrea.


Testimonials


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!


Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!


Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!


Alice M.
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