Causes of visual impairment in children aged 5 to 15 years: An observational study in Cameroon

Calixte Ida Penda, Ritha Mbono Betoko, Francine Same Bebey, Gustave Ehone Mimbou, Charlotte Ekoube Eposse, Patricia Epée Eboumbou, Laurent-Mireille Endalè, Augustin Ellong


Introduction. Visual impairment (VI) in children is a public health problem especially in resources limited setting. We aimed to determine the prevalence and main causes of visual impairment in children in two hospitals in Douala (Cameroon). Methods. An observational cross sectional and retrospective study was carried out from January to April 2018 at the General Hospital and at the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala on the files of children aged 5 to 15 years who consulted from January 2013 to December 2017. The files of children aged 5 to 15 with a diagnosis of VI (low vision and blindness) were included. Low vision was defined as visual acuity less than 6/18 but better than 3/60. Blindness was defined as visual acuity less than 3/60. Variables collected from patient charts included age, sex, medical history and causes of visual impairment. Results. The prevalence of visual impairment was 1.3 %. Boys were affected in 57% of cases and the sex ratio was 1.32. The mean age at diagnosis was 9.58 ± 3.6 years. Low visual acuity (83.7%) and ocular pain (23.3%) were the main presenting complaints. According to the type of visual impairment, 39.5% of children were blind whereas 60.5 % had low vision. A total of 22 children (64.7%) aged 5-9 years were blind. Adolescents were mainly affected by low vision. Glaucoma 16 (18.6%) was the most common cause of VI, followed by cortical blindness (15.1%), severe refractive errors (11.6%) and cataract (9.3%). Conclusion. Glaucoma and cortical blindness are the most common causes of visual impairment in children in our setting.
Introduction. La déficience visuelle (DV) chez l’enfant est un problème de santé publique, en particulier dans les pays à ressources limitées. Notre objectif était de déterminer la prévalence et les principales causes de déficience visuelle chez les enfants dans deux hôpitaux à Douala, au Cameroun. Méthodes. Nous avons réalisé une étude observationnelle transversale  rétrospective à l'Hôpital Général et l'Hôpital Laquintinie de Douala sur les dossiers d'enfants de 5 à 15 ans consultés de Janvier 2013 à Décembre 2017. Les dossiers d'enfants de 5 à 15 avec un diagnostic de DV (basse vision et cécité) ont été inclus. La basse vision était définie comme une acuité visuelle (AV) inférieure à 6/18 mais supérieure à 3/60 et la cécité (AV < 3/60). Les variables étudiées étaient l'âge, le sexe, les antécédents médicaux et les causes de la déficience visuelle. Résultats. La prévalence de la déficience visuelle était de 1,3%. L'âge moyen au moment du diagnostic était de 9,58 ± 3,6 ans. Les motifs de consultation étaient la baisse de l’acuité visuelle (83,7%) et la douleur oculaire (23,3%). La cécité concernait 39,5% des enfants et 60,5% avaient une basse vision. Au total, 22 enfants (64,7%) âgés de 5 à 9 ans étaient aveugles. Les adolescents étaient principalement affectés par la basse vision. Le glaucome était la cause la plus fréquente de déficience visuelle, suivi de la cécité corticale (15,1%), des erreurs de réfraction sévères (11,6%) et de la cataracte (9,3%). Conclusion  Le glaucome et la cécité corticale sont les causes les plus fréquentes de la déficience visuelle chez les enfants dans notre contexte.    


Visual impairment, Children, Adolescents, Douala, Cameroon

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