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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 890-894

Study of onchocerciasis-related visual impairment in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Command Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Ophthalmology, Bethesda Hospital, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
4 Department of Uveitis and Ocular Pathology, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
5 Spark Eye Care Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kripanidhi Shyamsundar
Department of Ophthalmology, Command Hospital, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1653_18

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Purpose: The Objective of this study is to determine baseline data regarding onchocercal eye lesions and associated visual loss in the Nord Kivu province, an onchocerciasis hyperendemic tropical rain forest area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Nord Kivu province of the DRC during which 2150 subjects were examined ophthalmologically. The eye examination included visual acuity (VA), slit-lamp examination, ophthalmoscopy, intraocular pressure, and visual field assessment by the confrontation test. Patients with suspicion of glaucoma were further evaluated by Humphreys automated perimeter. Results: 39 (1.81%) out of 2150 subjects had onchocerciasis-related eye lesions and 4 (0.19%) were blind (VA <3/60). Chorioretinitis (0.88%) was the most frequent onchocerciasis lesion followed by keratitis (0.46%), microfilaria in the anterior chamber (0.28%), iridocyclitis (0.28%), secondary glaucoma (0.19%), complicated cataract (0.19%), and optic atrophy (0.19%). Visual impairment was discovered in 114 (5.3%) out of 2150 subjects, of whom 39 (0.19%) had blindness and 75 (3.4%) had low vision. Visual impairment was mostly caused by nononchocerciasis-related diseases like cataract (27.2%), retinal diseases (19.3%), glaucoma (15.8%), and iridocyclitis (15.8%) rather than because of onchocerciasis (9.6%) among all causes of visual impairment. Conclusion: Features of ocular onchocerciasis usually described in forest and savanna areas were relatively less common than expected in and around Goma, the capital of the Nord Kivu province of the DRC.

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