John Libbey Eurotext

Médecine et Santé Tropicales


Causes of blindness in children attending a school for the blind in Mali Volume 28, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2018


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1 CHU-IOTA, 91093 Bamako, Mali
2 Hôpital national de Niamey, Niger
3 PNSO, Mali
* Correspondance
  • Key words: Blind, childhood, impairment, measles, cornea, Mali
  • DOI : 10.1684/mst.2018.0828
  • Page(s) : 439-42
  • Published in: 2018

Introduction: Among the 1.4 million blind children in the world, 300,000 live in Africa. The causes of blindness vary from one country to another. The purpose of our study was to report the causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment in children attending the only school for the blind in Mali (National Institute for the Blind in Mali, INAM). Materials and methods: All children attending the INAM were examined. Blindness was defined as visual acuity less than 3/60 (20/400 or 0.05). Visual impairment was moderate when the visual acuity was less than 6/18 (20/70 or 0.30), but greater than or equal to 6/60 (20/200 or 0.1), and severe when visual acuity was less than 6/60 (20/200 or 0.1), but greater than or equal to 3/60 (20/400 or 0.05). Results: The study included a total of 104 children. The average age of our patients was 12 years with a M/F sex-ratio of 1.12. In all, 85.6 % of the children were blind and 14.4 % visually impaired. The main causes of blindness were corneal opacities (26 %), and whole globe lesions and conditions (19.2 %). Ametropia accounted for 60 % of visual impairment. Discussion: According to WHO, corneal and retinal damage are the leading cause of blindness (50.6 %) in children. In our series, corneal diseases were the leading cause, following by damage to the whole globe. Conclusion: The results of our study indicate that avoidable and treatable causes of childhood blindness are the leading causes of blindness of children at INAM.