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Original Research

Prevalence and causes of visual impairment in patients seen at Nkhensani Hospital Eye Clinic, South Africa

Modjadji M. Maake, Olalekan A. Oduntan

African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 7, No 1 (2015), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v7i1.728

Submitted: 29 May 2014
Published:  09 December 2015


Background: Knowledge of the prevalence and causes of visual impairment (VI) amongst hospital patients is useful in planning preventive programmes and provision of eye-care services for residents in the surrounding communities.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and causes of VI amongst eye clinic patients at Nkhensani Hospital. The relationship between VI and age was also investigated.

Setting: Nkhensani Hospital in the Greater Giyani subdistrict municipality, Mopani district, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Methods: Four hundred participants aged 6–92 years were selected for the study using a convenient sampling method. Presenting and best corrected visual acuities (VA) were measured with a LogMAR E chart. Presenting VA (PVA) in the right and left eyes and in the better eye of the patients was used to determine the prevalence of VI, low vision (LV) and blindness. Ophthalmoscope was used to diagnose the eye conditions causing VI amongst participants.

Results: The prevalence of VI based on the PVA in the right eye was 34.8% and in the left eye, the prevalence was 35.8%. There was a significant association between age of the participants and VI in the right and left eyes (p = 0.00) in each case, respectively. Based on the vision in the better eye of each patient, the prevalence of VI was 28.0% and there was a significant association between VI and age of the participants (p = 0.00). The main causes of VI were uncorrected refractive errors, cataract and glaucoma.

Conclusion: Findings in this study indicate that a large proportion of VI is preventable. Focusing on refractive error correction and surgical intervention for cataract would significantly reduce the burden of VI amongst patients utilising this hospital.

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Author affiliations

Modjadji M. Maake, Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Olalekan A. Oduntan, Department of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa



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ISSN: 2071-2928 (print) | ISSN: 2071-2936 (online)

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