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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Survey of Childhood Blindness and Visual Impairment in Botswana

AUTHOR:

Nallasamy, S., Anninger, W.V., Quinn, G.E., Kroener, B., Zetola, N.M. and Nkomazana, O.

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2011

PUBLICATION:

British Journal of Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The purpose of this study was to determine the causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment (VI) in Botswana.

  • The study examined with 241 children, 79 with unilateral and 162 with bilateral VI.

  • Of unilateral cases, 89% were avoidable, 23% preventable (83% trauma-related) and 66% treatable (40% refractive error and 31% amblyopia).

  • Of bilateral cases, 63% were avoidable: 5% preventable and 58% treatable (33% refractive error and 31% congenital cataracts).

  • Refractive error, which is easily correctable with glasses, is the most common cause of bilateral VI, with cataracts a close second.

  • A nationwide intervention is currently being planned to reduce the burden of avoidable childhood VI in Botswana.