Causes of Moderate to Severe Visual Impairment and Blindness Among Children in Integrated Schools for the Blind and Visiting a Tertiary Eye Hospital in Nepal: The Nepal Pediatric Visual Impairment (NPVI) Study

Srijana Adhikari*, Ruth Marie Antoinette van Nispen, Ellen Bernadette Maria Elsman, Fleur van Rens, Ger van Rens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To study the causes of moderate and severe visual impairment (VI) and blindness and its changing trends in Nepalese children. Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted. Participants, aged 7 to 17 years were recruited from integrated schools for the blind and the outpatient department of a tertiary eye hospital in Kathmandu. VI and blindness were categorized according to World Health Organization (WHO) categories and its protocol for eye examination of children with blindness and VI was followed. Findings were compared to former studies from Nepal. Results: A total of 200 children were included, of whom 45% had moderate VI, 5% had severe VI, and 50% were blind. Mean age of children with VI and blindness was 11.1 (SD = 3.3) and 12.9 (SD = 3) years, respectively. Forty percent of children with VI and 38% of blind children were female. In our study, retina (39%) and whole globe (32%) were the most common anatomical site of involvement in children with VI and blindness, respectively, while cornea was the most common anatomical site of involvement in former studies. Heredity (43%) was the most common etiological factor although in 24.5% of all children, etiology was unknown. In 43.5% of children, blindness and VI was due to avoidable causes. Conclusion: In relatively many children, the etiology of VI and blindness could be either prevented or treated. Compared to former studies from Nepal, there is a changing trend in the etiology of severe VI and blindness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1034
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Ophthalmology
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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