The aetiology of optic atrophy in Nigerians--a general hospital clinic study

Int J Clin Pract. 2005 Aug;59(8):950-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2005.00541.x.


This study aimed at reviewing cases presenting with optic atrophy at the eye clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria with a view to identifying some of the diagnostic problems. The study was a retrospective review of 100 cases selected by systematic random sampling method of a total of 6160 patients presenting with optic atrophy to the eye clinic over 6 years (April 1990 to March 1996). Diagnosis was based on ophthalmoscopic appearance of optic disc corroborated with visual field studies. The mean age of the patients was 40.8 years. The male to female ratio was 2:1 bilateral. Eighty percentages were bilateral, whereas 20% were unilateral. Only in 38% of cases could the cause of the optic atrophy be identified. The most frequently diagnosed were cranio-orbital neoplasms (8%), those referable to trauma (8%), hydrocephalus (7%), retinitis pigmentosa (3%) and post infectious (2%). Other causes include toxins, congenital, seizure disorders, birth asphyxia and papilloedema. In 62% of cases, the aetiology cannot be satisfactorily elicited. Some suggestions have been made to overcome some of these diagnostic problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black People
  • Developing Countries*
  • Eye Neoplasms / complications
  • Eye Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Optic Atrophies, Hereditary / pathology
  • Optic Atrophy / etiology*
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology
  • Optic Disk / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / pathology