Int Ophthalmol. 1990 May;14(3):189-94. doi: 10.1007/BF00158317.


Onchocerciasis is a devastating blinding disease caused by the parasite Onchocerca volvulus that infects about 80 million people, causing blindness and visual impairment in 1-2 million people. In hyperendemic areas, more than half of the population will become blind from onchocerciasis before they die. Blindness is the most important effect of the disease and results, in part, from direct invasion of the eye by microfilariae. The recent development of ivermectin has revolutionized our ability to treat this disease. An annual oral dose of only 150 mg/kg completely suppresses the disease manifestations. Programs for the community-based mass distribution of ivermectin are now being conducted and promise to control this major blinding scourge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Humans
  • Insect Control
  • Insect Vectors
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use*
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / diagnosis
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / drug therapy*
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / epidemiology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / prevention & control


  • Ivermectin