A survey of severe visual impairment in children attending schools for the blind in a coastal district of Andhra Pradesh in South India

Eye (Lond). 2012 Aug;26(8):1065-70. doi: 10.1038/eye.2012.88. Epub 2012 May 11.


Purpose: To identify the major causes of severe childhood visual impairment and blindness among students attending schools for the blind in a coastal district of Andhra Pradesh (AP) in South India.

Methods: Children ≤ 16 years of age attending six schools for the blind in the study area were interviewed and examined in the year 2009, and causes were classified according to the World Health Organization Program for Prevention of Blindness (WHO/PBL) childhood blindness proforma. A total of 113 children underwent a detailed eye examination by an experienced ophthalmologist.

Results: The major causes of blindness were congenital eye anomalies in 46 children (41.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 32.3-50.6), followed by retinal disorders in 21 children (18.9%; 95% CI: 11.6-26.2), cataract in 9 children (9.7%; 95% CI: 2.9-12.9), and corneal conditions (scar and Staphyloma) in 8 children (7.1%; 95% CI: 2.4-11.8). More than half the children (56.6%) were blind due to conditions that could have been treated or prevented.

Discussion: Congenital anomalies were found to be the most common cause of blindness. The majority of the cases were due to avoidable causes of blindness. Therefore, robust screening measures may help reduce the burden of visual impairment in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education of Visually Disabled / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Schools*
  • Vision, Low / epidemiology*
  • Vision, Low / etiology
  • Vision, Low / prevention & control
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*