Ocular onchocerciasis

Bull World Health Organ. 1978;56(1):63-73.


Well over 20 million people in the world are infected with Onchocerca volvulus and it is probable that 200 000-500 000 people are blind as a result of this infection, which is the most important cause of blindness in certain areas of Africa and Latin America.Treatment of the disease is difficult and often produces serious adverse reactions in the patient. Combined use of diethylcarbamazine citrate and suramin is still the most suitable form of treatment. Screening for the early detection of cases at high risk of ocular manifestations must be organized, and their treatment undertaken, if blindness is to be avoided.Prevention of ocular onchocerciasis is feasible, using vector control methods to reduce transmission, but the procedures are costly and may have to be maintained for many years.Research is needed to improve treatment and to find a chemoprophylactic agent or a preventive vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Diethylcarbamazine / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Control
  • Onchocerciasis* / drug therapy
  • Onchocerciasis* / prevention & control
  • Onchocerciasis* / transmission
  • Suramin / administration & dosage


  • Suramin
  • Diethylcarbamazine