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K M Waddell

Childhood blindness and low vision in Uganda

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Purpose: To examine the causes and outcome of subnormal vision starting in childhood in Uganda, to aid in planning for its avoidance and for rehabilitation.

Methods: All those seen having subnormal vision with onset from birth to 15 years (total 1135) (schools 1983-97; community 1988-97) were included in the study. Clinical examination was performed and a World Health Organisation (WHO) form completed, with analysis by its computer program. Main outcome measures were visual acuity, signs of eye pathology, outcome of treatment and refraction and low vision assessment.


Results: By WHO category 14.8% had visual impairment, 6.5% severe visual impairment, 63.2% were blind and 15.2% were too young to test. The acuities and causes were similar in school and community groups, excepting cortical visual impairment and multiple impairment, which are much commoner in the community. Cataract was the largest cause of visual impairment (30.7%) and surgical outcome was unsatisfactory. Visual loss following corneal ulceration was the second commonest cause of subnormal vision (22.0%).

Conclusions: Cataract and corneal damage cause half of all subnormal vision, which is avoidable for both. Cataract surgery needs to be upgraded. To prevent corneal visual loss, primary health care should continue to be expanded, especially measles immunisation and nutrition care; rubella immunisation should be added. Special education needs to be greatly expanded. Public perceptions need changing if results are to be improved and help offered to more than the present minority.


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Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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