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Prevalence and Causes of Blindness and Visual Impairment in Muyuka: A Rural Health District in South West Province, Cameroon


Oye JE, Kuper H, Dineen B, Befidi-Mengue R, Foster A.


International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine




British Journal of Ophthalmology


  • The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment in the population aged 40 years and over in Muyuka, a rural district in the South West Province of Cameroon.

  • 1787 people were examined (response rate 89.3%) from randomly selected households from 20 clusters of 100 people each. Eligible people had their visual acuity (VA) measured by an ophthalmic nurse; those with VA <6/18 were examined by an ophthalmologist.

  • The prevalence of binocular blindness was 1.6% (95% CI: 0.8% to 2.4%), 2.2% (1.% to 3.1%) for binocular severe visual impairment, and 6.4% (5.0% to 7.8%) for binocular visual impairment.

  • Cataract was the main cause of blindness (62.1%), severe visual impairment (65.0%), and visual impairment (40.0%). Refractive error was an important cause of severe visual impairment (15.0%) and visual impairment (22.5%).

  • The cataract surgical coverage for people was 55% at the <3/60 level and 33% at the <6/60 level. 64.3% of eyes operated for cataract had poor visual outcome (presenting VA <6/60).

  • Strategies should be developed to make cataract services affordable and accessible to the population in the rural areas.

  • There is an urgent need to improve the outcome of cataract surgery. Refractive error services should be provided at the community level.