Aim: To describe the prevalence of childhood blindness and severe visual impairment in a rural community in Edo State using the key informant method.
Methods: This was a descriptive, population-based, cross-sectional study carried out in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area in Edo State. Fifty (50) trained key informants identified and referred children for further ocular examination, dilated fundoscopy where necessary and refraction after obtaining informed consent from the parents and the Local government authorities. Data obtained was recorded on the WHO/PBL eye examination record for children with blindness and low vision form and analyzed using SSPSS version 21.
Results: A total of 96 children were identified and referred by the key informants, but 84 children came to the examination centres on the scheduled days. Therefore, 87.5% of the identified children reported for examination. The prevalence of blindness/severe visual impairment was 0.15/1000 (95% CI: 0.11-0.19/1000). The prevalence of blindness was 0.10/1000(95% CI: 0.08-0.16/1000) and prevalence of severe visual impairment was 0.05/1000(95% CI: 0, 04-0.07/1000). The number of children that reported for examination was 84 and the number of children with blindness/severe visual impairment were 20, which brings the positive predictive value to 23.8%. Majority (90%) of the causes of blindness and severe visual impairment were avoidable (either preventable or treatable). The preventable causes accounted for 20.0% while the treatable causes were 70.0%. Cortical blindness from hydrocephalous was responsible in 10.0% of cases and this is unavoidable.
Conclusion: Majority of children from this study were therefore blind or severely visually impaired needlessly. Avoiding these needless blinding cases would require early case finding and timely intervention and follow-up