Eye disease and visual impairment in Kibera and Dagoreti Divisions of Nairobi, Kenya
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Objective : To determine the prevalence and pattern of eye diseases and visual impairment in the Nairobi Comprehensive Eye Care Services (NCES) Project; the catchment area of the Mbagathi District Eye Unit of Nairobi. Design: Community based survey conducted from October 15th to 31st 2007 Setting: Kibera and Dagoreti divisions of Nairobi City Subjects: 4200 people of all ages were randomly selected; 4056 were examined (96.6% response rate). 122 (2.9%) were not available and 15 (0.4%) declined to be examined. Results: Females: 54.2%, Males: 45.8%. Mean age; 22.4 years, SD; 16.5. Only 241(5.9%) aged >50years old. The leading eye disorders in Kibera and Dagoretti divisions are conjunctival disorders including allergic conjunctivitis and conjunctival growths. This was found to affect 7.6% of the subjects. This was followed by refractive errors found in 5.3% of the subjects. Cataract was found in 30 subjects (0.7%). Disorders of the retina and the optic nerve were found in 1.1% of the subjects and corneal disorders in 0.5%. The prevalence of visual impairment was 0.6%, severe visual impairment was 0.05% and blindness was 0.1%. This indicates that most of the ocular disorders encountered were not visually threatening. The main cause of visual impairment is refractive errors and the causes of severe visual impairment and blindness are cataract, corneal opacity and glaucoma. Conclusion: The population of the NCES is relatively young and the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment is low. The main cause of visual impairment was refractive errors and the causes of severe visual impairment and blindness were cataract, corneal opacity and glaucoma. Recommendations: The level of blindness in NCES is low and the project should focus more on rendering eye care and not treatment of blindness. There is need to address the issue of refractive errors as this was one of the main ocular problems encountered. In this survey, it was not possible to perform detailed refraction and hence it was recommend that a refractive error survey be conducted; especially in school going children.