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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 733-737

Ocular morbidity patterns among children in schools for the blind in Chennai

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Ashutosh Dayal
Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Rukmani Laxmipathy Salai, Egmore, Chennai - 600 008, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_294_17

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Purpose: To identify the morbidity patterns causing blindness in children attending schools for the blind in Chennai and comparing our data with similar studies done previously. Methods: A cross-sectional prevalence study was carried out in two schools for the blind in Chennai. Blind schools were visited by a team of ophthalmologists and optometrists. Students with best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) worse than 3/60 in the better eye were included and relevant history was noted. Every student underwent anterior segment evaluation and detailed fundus examination. Morbidity of the better eye was taken as cause of blindness. Health records maintained by the school were referred to wherever available. Results: The anatomical causes of blindness include optic nerve disorders in 75 (24.8%) cases, retinal disorders in 55 (18.2%), corneal disorders in 47 (15.6%), lens-related disorders in 39 (12.9%), congenital anomalies in 11 (3.6%), and congenital glaucoma in 20 (6.6%) cases. The whole globe was involved in six cases (1.99%). Among conditions causing blindness, optic atrophy seen in 73 (24.17%) cases was the most common, followed by retinal dystrophy in 44 (14.56%), corneal scarring in 35 (11.59%), cataract in 22 (7.28%), and congenital glaucoma in 20 (6.6%) cases. Conclusion: It was found that avoidable causes of blindness were seen in 31% of cases and incurable causes in 45%. Optic nerve atrophy and retinal dystrophy are the emerging causes of blindness, underlining the need for genetic counseling and low vision rehabilitation centers, along with a targeted approach for avoidable causes of blindness.

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