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Yeshigeta Gelaw
Aemero Abateneh


Background: Low vision and blindness are recognized as one of the major public health problemsworldwide, especially in developing countries. The prevalence and cause of blindness and low vision varyfrom region to region, among different age and population groups in a country or geographical region.The objective of this study is thus to determine the causes of blindness and ocular morbidity amongrefugees in Southwest Ethiopia.Methods: A cross-sectional clinic based study was conducted on 1,054 refugees in Southwest Ethiopia. Abasic anterior and posterior segment examination was done by ophthalmologists with Magnifying Loupe2.5X and Direct Ophthalmoscope. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0.Results: The most common causes of ocular morbidity identified were trachoma 547(21.2%), cataract501(19.4%), refractive error 353(13.7%), conjunctivitis 240(9.3%), glaucoma 130(5.1%) and climaticdroplet keratopathy 112(4.4%). The overall prevalence of blindness was 26.2% and the prevalence ofchildhood blindness was 0.7%. The prevalence was higher among females (16.9%) than males (9.3%)and age groups 60 years and above (15.9%) than other age groups (10.3%) (P<0.05). The overallprevalence of low vision was 25.8% and the prevalence of low vision in pediatric age group was 0.9%.The leading causes of blindness were cataract 112(40.6%), trachomatous corneal opacity 58(21.0%) andglaucoma 49(17.8%). The commonest cause of low vision was cataract 102(37.6%) followed bytrachomatous corneal opacity 49(18.1%) and refractive error 35(12.9%).Conclusions: There is a very high burden of blinding eye diseases among refugees. Integratedmultidisciplinary intervention strategies for the prevention and control of blindness and low vision in thestudy settings should be initiated.

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Original Article
Author Biographies

Yeshigeta Gelaw, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Department of Ophthalmology

Aemero Abateneh, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Department of Ophthalmology