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Causes of Blindness Among Adult Yemenis: A Hospital-based Study


Causes of Blindness Among Adult Yemenis: A Hospital-based Study

Saleh A Al-Akily et al. Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol.


Purpose: This hospital-based retrospective study was aimed to assess the causes of blindness among adults aged 17 years and over who attended a teaching eye hospital in Yemen.

Methods: The case notes of 3845 consecutive new patients over 12 months attending Ibn Al-Haitham Eye Center which is affiliated to the University of Science and Technology in Sana'a (the capital of Yemen) were retrieved and analysed. Data collected included age, gender, chief complaint and complete eye examination.

Results: 7.7 percent (296) were uniocularly blind and 11.2 percent (432) were binocularly blind (best corrected visual acuity <3/60 in the better eye). The leading causes of uniocular blindness were cataract, trauma related ocular complications, corneal opacity, amblyopia and glaucoma. Binocular blindness was mainly due to cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age related macular degeneration and corneal opacity.

Conclusions: These data imply that the preliminary results give us some insight about the magnitude of the problem of blindness in Yemen while awaiting a national survey on the prevalence and causes of blindness. Cataract was found to be the main cause of unilateral and bilateral blindness and this will require surgical relief, either in public hospitals, private hospitals and clinics, or in eye camps. Trauma related ocular complications were found to be the second most common cause of uniocular blindness. Health education, implementing work safety measures and bringing ophthalmological care to the doorstep of underprivileged rural community will improve their level of awareness.

Keywords: Yemen; blindness; cataract; corneal opacity; glaucoma.

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