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Refractive Error in Nigerian Adults: Prevalence, Type, and Spectacle Coverage


Christian Ezelum; Hessom Razavi; Selvaraj Sivasubramaniam; Clare E. Gilbert; Gudlavalleti V. S. Murthy; Gabriel Entekume; Tafida Abubakar; Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Study Group


Sightsavers International, Christian Blind Mission (CBM), and Vellux Stiftung.




Clinical and Epidemiologic Research - Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Arvo Journal


  • The purpose of the study is to provide data on prevalence and types of refractive error and the spectacle-wearing rate among adults aged ≥40 years in Nigeria and the degree to which the need for distance correction could be met by off-the-shelf spectacles.

  • Uncorrected refractive error was responsible for 77.9% of mild visual impairment, 57.1% of moderate VI, 11.3% of severe VI and 1.4% of blindness.

  • The crude prevalence of myopia (≤0.5 D) and high myopia (≤5.0 D) were 16.2% and 2.1%, respectively.

  • Spectacles could improve the vision of 1279 (9.4%) and 882 (6.5%) participants at the 6/12 and 6/18 level, respectively, but only 3.4% and 4.4% of these individuals wore spectacles to the examination site.

  • Approximately 2,140,000 adults in Nigeria would benefit from spectacles that improved their vision from <6/12 to ≥6/12.

  • More than a third of the need could be met by low-cost, off-the-shelf spectacles.

  • Uncorrected refractive errors are an important cause of visual impairment in Nigeria, and services must be dramatically improved to meet the need.