Authors
Khalid F Tabbara, Hisham F El-Sheikh, Shucri S Shawaf

Pattern of childhood blindness at a referral center in Saudi Arabia

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Abstract/Introduction

Background: An understanding of the causes of blindness and the magnitude of the problem is crucial in designing effective intervention and prevention programs. We undertook this retrospective review to determine the causes of childhood blindness at an eye referral center.

Patients and methods: We reviewed charts of children who presented between August 1997 and August 2003. All children had a complete ophthalmologic examination. Blindness was defined as a visual acuity < 20/400, visual impairment as visual acuity between 20/400 and 20/60, and visual loss as a visual acuity < 20/60.


Conclusion/Results

Results: A total of 5217 children included 220 (59%) males and 152 (41%) females (age range 2 to 18 years, mean age, 10 years). One hundred twelve (2%) were blind and 260 (5%) had visual impairment. The most common causes of bilateral blindness included optic nerve diseases, retinal disorders, and cataract. The most common causes of unilateral blindness included trauma, retinal diseases, refractive errors, and optic nerve diseases. The most common causes of bilateral visual impairment included refractive errors, corneal diseases, retinal disorders, cataract, and congenital nystagmus. Genetically determined disorders were observed in 37 (70%) of 53 patients with bilateral blindness, and in 52 (56%) of 93 patients with bilateral visual impairment. The incidence of consanguinity among parents of children with acquired causes was 2 (3%) of 59 patients compared to 34 (38%) of 89 among genetically determined causes (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Genetically determined disorders continue to play an important role in the causation of childhood blindness among patients attending our referral center in Saudi Arabia. Genetic counseling, early eye screening of children and public education may help in the prevention of visual disorders in children.


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Testimonials


My eight year old daughter was terrified to go to the eye doctor for fear of her eyes being dilated. The doctor was SO KID friendly! He immediately made her comfortable by engaging her in conversation. It was a geat experience.


Joya B.

Dr. Garbus spent an amazing amount of time to solve my very complicated visual problems. Over the years he has continually achieved results beyond what others felt possible. He is always up to date on the latest science. He is great!


Dolores K.

Family Vision Care Valencia makes it so easy. Staff is knows what they are doing and Dr. Garbus is thorough and kept me well informed during the exam.


Kristy B.

I have been coming to Family Vision Center for almost 20 years. Dr. Garbus has been able to help my vision when other doctors could not. Now my kids see him as well. I highly recommend this office!


Autumn C.

The Doctor is very good. I felt on this visit he seemed rushed. I had questions to ask him but he was already with another patient. I still do not know if my eyes are the same , worse, or better.


Howard B.

All the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and has been for all the years I have been going there.


Mary Ann H.
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