Poverty and Blindness in Nigeria: Results from the National Survey of Blindness and Visual Impairment.

Tafida, A; Kyari, F; Abdull, MM; Sivasubramaniam, S; Murthy, GV; Kana, I; Gilbert, CE; Nigeria National Survey of Blindness and Visual Impairment Study, ; (2015) Poverty and Blindness in Nigeria: Results from the National Survey of Blindness and Visual Impairment. Ophthalmic epidemiology, 22 (5). pp. 333-41. ISSN 0928-6586 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3109/09286586.2015.1077259

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Poverty can be a cause and consequence of blindness. Some causes only affect the poorest communities (e.g. trachoma), and poor individuals are less likely to access services. In low income countries, cataract blind adults have been shown to be less economically active, indicating that blindness can exacerbate poverty. This study aims to explore associations between poverty and blindness using national survey data from Nigeria. Participants ≥40 years were examined in 305 clusters (2005-2007). Sociodemographic information, including literacy and occupation, was obtained by interview. Presenting visual acuity (PVA) was assessed using a reduced tumbling E LogMAR chart. Full ocular examination was undertaken by experienced ophthalmologists on all with PVA <6/12 in either eye. Causes of vision loss were determined using World Health Organization guidelines. Households were categorized into three levels of poverty based on literacy and occupation at household level. A total of 569/13,591 participants were blind (PVA <3/60, better eye; prevalence 4.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.8-4.6%). Prevalences of blindness were 8.5% (95% CI 7.7-9.5%), 2.5% (95% CI 2.0-3.1%), and 1.5% (95% CI 1.2-2.0%) in poorest, medium and affluent households, respectively (p = 0.001). Cause-specific prevalences of blindness from cataract, glaucoma, uncorrected aphakia and corneal opacities were significantly higher in poorer households. Cataract surgical coverage was low (37.2%), being lowest in females in poor households (25.3%). Spectacle coverage was 3 times lower in poor than affluent households (2.4% vs. 7.5%). In Nigeria, blindness is associated with poverty, in part reflecting lower access to services. Reducing avoidable causes will not be achieved unless access to services improves, particularly for the poor and women.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: International Centre for Eye Health
PubMed ID: 26395660
Web of Science ID: 369755700006
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2312457


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