Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1984  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 161--163

Changing pattern of blindness in blind school residents in India

Vijay K Dada, VK Kalra, SK Angra, Swadesh C Acharjee 
 Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences A.LLM.S., New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Vijay K Dada
Dr. R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS. New Delhi 110 029

How to cite this article:
Dada VK, Kalra V K, Angra S K, Acharjee SC. Changing pattern of blindness in blind school residents in India.Indian J Ophthalmol 1984;32:161-163

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Dada VK, Kalra V K, Angra S K, Acharjee SC. Changing pattern of blindness in blind school residents in India. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1984 [cited 2021 Jun 15 ];32:161-163
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Blind school residents represent a strata of population of younger age group who are blind due to various causes prevalent at that particular time. We tried to analyse any change in the pattern of blindness observed 15 years ago and at present.

We have surveyed blind schools in Delhi and Dehradun to study the pattern of blind­ness in the students of these institutions and their rehabilitative aspects.

The study was undertaken to compare the changing pattern of blindness over the last decade and half.


The survey was conducted on a standard pretested proforma, giving the details of ocular aspects. On completion of the survey the findings were analysed.


The study has been detailed in [Table 1][Table 2][Table 3][Table 4][Table 5][Table 6]. Out of 200 inmates, 45% belonged to Uttar Pradesh, 12% to Haryana, 11.5% to Bihar,10% to Delhi, 7.5% to Rajasthan and rest came from all over India including one student from Nepal.

Corneal blindness was highest 55.5%, followed by congenital (24%) and posterior segment blindness (20.5%). Ophthalmia was the commonest cause of corneal blindness (40%). Similarly in congenital group congeni­tal cataract (7%) microphthalmos (7%) and posterior segment blindness was dominated by optic atrophy (11.5%) and retinitis pigmen­tosa (35%) [Table 2][Table 3].

On analysing the age of onset of blindness in these school students [Table 1] we found that 24% of cases were born blind, 55% became blind before they reached their 5th year, additional 17.5% cases lost vision within 10 years. Only 3% became blind after the age of 10 years.

[Table 4] shows the initial vision in the better eye. Most of the cases had no perception of light (39.50%) or just light perception (27%), remaining had vision ranging from hand movement to 6/36.


It is estimated that there are 30-40 million blind people in the world, most of whom belong to developing countries.[1] Genetic factors are the main causes of childhood blind. ness in developed countries.[2],[3],[8],[9] We in India observed that blindness due to infections is 48% and due to congenital disorders is due to the extent of 24% [Table 5][Table 6]. This confirms the views of other workers[6],[7],[8],[9] that in developing countries infections take upper hand over genetic disorders.

In our study we found corneal infection in 48% of cases, whereas a survey on blindness in Blind schools in Ethiopia,[11] the prevalent was 61.7%. Comparing trauma as a cause of blind­ness our prevalent rate was 5.55 as compared to 5.14% in Ethiopia. It is evident that causes of blindness in developing countries conform to similar pattern.

Comparing our study with the study con­ducted in 1966 in the same blind schools,[10] it is clear that there is a decline in (a) Corneal affection from 75% to 55%, (b) Ophthalmia due to systemic infection, 9.2% to 4%, (c) Small-pox, 30% to 4%, and (d) Keratomalacia, 1.6% to 1%. This probably indicates the impact of the National Health Programs and general improvement in health status due to a better availability of primary and secondary health care. Higher incidence trauma from 0.8% to 5.5% is due to industrialisation and mechanizations.


A survey of 200 blind school children was undertaken. Aetiology of the blindness was studied. Blinding diseases were classified and changing pattern of blinding diseases and their significance has been highlighted.


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