Duration 5min, Q&A 3min
Status of Childhood Blindness in the Middle Eastern Countries in 2012- A Review
Childhood blindness and visual impairment CBVI are major disabilities that compromise the normal development of children. Health resources and practices to prevent CBVI are suboptimal in most countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region EMR. We reviewed the magnitude and the causes of childhood visual disabilities in order to suggest improvement in child eye care services in the region.
To determine the magnitude of blindness and functional low vision FLV in children less than 15 years old, we used the 2011 population projections, under 5 mortality rates and Gross Domestic Product GDP per capita of 23 member countries as documented by the World Heath Organization WHO. We divided these countries into three groups high, middle and low income countries. By applying the bilateral blindness and FLV rates of high, middle and low income countries from global literature to the population of children under 15 years, we estimated numbers and percentage of childhood blind and FLV. The causes of these disabilities were also elucidated.
Results and Conclusion
There could be 238,500 children with bilateral blindness rate 1.2 per 1,000 and 417,725 children with FLV rate of 2.1 per1,000 in the region. The causes of visual disability prevalent in the three groups match with GDP and mortality rates in less than five year old children of member countries. Nutrition and infection related causes are affecting countries having civil unrest. Metabolic and gentic causes are more common in gulf countries. Retinopathy of prematurity is increasing in countries with rapidly evolving economic situations. Available resources to address childhood blindness will be presented. Lack of skilled health care personnel, training centres, disorganized rehabilitation services, integration of primary eye care in existing health care system in the countries of region are highlighted.
Much is to be urgently done at country levels in the Middle East to deal with childhood blindness and reach goals of VISION 2020 The Right to the Sight.
[ Keyword ]
Childhood blindness, functional low vision (FLV), Eastern Mediterranean Region , Visual disability.
[ Conflict of Interest ]