Visual impairment in patients with leprosy in Adilabad District in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India

Indian J Lepr. Jul-Sep 2011;83(3):131-7.


The aim was to estimate the prevalence of eye problems in patients with leprosy and to assess the utilization rate of eye care services using cross-sectional case series design. All leprosy patients registered between April 2007 and June 2009 were included in the study. They were prospectively assessed by an internist for general health issues. An ophthalmic examination including assessment of visual acuity was conducted by an ophthalmologist. A total of 150 leprosy patients were examined, of which 78 (52%) suffered from pausi bacillary (PB) leprosy and majority were males (52%); 43 (29%) patients were literate. Nineteen (14%) patients had organ deformities and ocular lesions were seen in 12 (8%) patients, but 76 (51%) (95% CI 40.8-62.7) patients had earlier reported eye problems requiring intervention as assessed by the ophthalmic officer. Only 26 (17%) (95% CI 11.6-24.4) patients had sought eye care services earlier. Visual impairment was observed in 19 (12.6%) cases and blindness related to leprosy was seen in 5 (3.3%) patients. To conclude prevention of blindness among leprosy patients is possible only with strong coordination between the general health and eye care unit in the area with mandatory eye screening being made part of the treatment schedule for leprosy patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Leprosy / complications*
  • Leprosy / epidemiology
  • Leprosy / microbiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium leprae / isolation & purification*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / microbiology*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Young Adult