• Users Online: 370
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35-38

Bilateral blindness from ocular injury: A 15 year review

1 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
2 Federal Medical Center, PMB 1126, Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria
3 Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication26-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
K F Monsudi
Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Center, PMB 1126, Birnin Kebbi
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1597-1112.139467

Rights and Permissions

Background: Ocular injury remains a significant cause of monocular visual impairment and blindness worldwide; impact on bilateral blindness needs further elucidation.
Aims: The aim of this study is to review cases of bilateral blindness from ocular injury: The etiology, risk factors, psychosocial effect as well as suggest preventive measures.
Materials and Methods: A 15 year retrospective review of bilateral blindness from ocular injury at the eye clinic of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) From January 1997 through December 2012 was carried out.
Results: Sixteen cases of traumatic bilateral blindness were recorded, compared to 2155 total number of bilateral blindness recorded during the study period, giving a proportion of 0.8%. This consisting of 12 males and 6 females. The modal age group was 17-33 years. Blindness resulting from chemical assault was (37.5%), gunshot injury (12.5%), and assault for presumed ritual purposes made up 25%. The major risk factors identified are male sex, younger age group, students, and artisan. Psychosocial burden in the immediate period of loss of vision include anxiety, fear of loss of occupation or basic skills, denial and hope for visual restoration, aggression, poor appetite, and excessive crying. Three patients developed depression and required medical management.
Conclusion: Bilateral blindness in our environment is mainly assault-related from chemicals, gunshot, and rituals. Public enlightenment on far reaching consequences of sudden traumatic blindness, health education on preventive measures, legislation and adequate punitive measures are important tools required to reduce this menace. Adequate psychotherapy by behavioral scientist, rehabilitation, and societal reintegration is mandatory to effectively treat cases.

Keywords: Bilateral blindness, chemical injury, Nigeria, psychological effect, trauma

How to cite this article:
Grace AF, Monsudi K F, Adekoya B J. Bilateral blindness from ocular injury: A 15 year review. Afr J Trauma 2014;3:35-8

How to cite this URL:
Grace AF, Monsudi K F, Adekoya B J. Bilateral blindness from ocular injury: A 15 year review. Afr J Trauma [serial online] 2014 [cited 2024 Mar 3];3:35-8. Available from: https://www.afrjtrauma.com/text.asp?2014/3/1/35/139467

  Introduction Top

Ocular trauma remains a significant cause of monocular visual impairment and blindness worldwide, accounting for 20-50%, out of which bilateral blindness is 3.2-5% (approximately 1.6 million blindness worldwide). [1],[2] However, 5% of bilateral blindness in developing countries is due to trauma. [3] Despite the small size of the eye (accounts for 4% of face and 0.27% of total body surfaces), it ranks 3 rd to hands and feet as most common site of injury. [4] The impacts of binocular blindness on individual and the society are far worse than monocular blindness in all ramification. [5] However, 90% of all cases of ocular trauma are preventable, hence the emphasis on prevention. [6] There are few studies on the etiology of bilateral traumatic blindness in developing countries [7],[8] despite the great implication on the wellbeing and quality of life of affected individual. Hence, this study was conducted to know the etiology of bilateral traumatic blindness and ways of preventing it in a referral tertiary hospital in central geological zone of Nigeria.

  Materials and Methods Top

A cross-sectional case series over 15 years period of all patients who presented in the accident and emergency section and at the eye clinic of the University of Ilorin teaching hospital (UITH), from January 1997 through December 2012 with bilateral blindness resulting from injury was done.

The UITH is a tertiary eye center in Kwara State, Nigeria, serving a population of around 2.4 million. [8] It also acts as a referral center for the surrounding states (Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, and Niger) and neighboring country (Benin republic). All patients' data were entered into the study proforma. The demographic factor, including age, sex, occupation, and level of education were recorded. The cause of injury and events surrounding the injury were also entered. Bilateral blindness was defined as best corrected visual acuity in the better eye less than 3/60. All the patients had their visual acuity checked with Snellen visual acuity chart and pen touch. The eyes examinations were done with Haagstreit slit lamp biomicroscope and Keller ophthalmoscope (direct and indirect). Any patient with unilateral traumatic ocular blindness and those whose visual acuity improved more than 3/60 following medical and surgical treatment by 6 months after intervention were excluded. All the patients were co-management with behavioral scientist. The data was recorded and analyzed using a scientific calculator.

  Results Top

Of all the 16 bilateral traumatic blind Patients who presented at our hospital during the study period, 12 were males and 4 were females with an age range of 1 to 50 years.

[Table 1] shows the 'Age and sex distributions of the patients.' The prevalence of the bilateral traumatic blindness was greatest in 17-33 year old group (37.5% of all cases), with most of the cases occurring in students (31.3%). [Table 2] showed the occupation of the patients. Chemical injury (car battery water) assault accounted for the highest number of bilateral blindness (37.5% of all cases). [Figure 1] and [Figure 2] patients with bilateral blindness due to chemical injuries, [Figure 3] bilateral blindness due to snake bite. [Table 3] shows the causes of bilateral blindness. The majority (14) of the people affected with this blindness were Yorubas (87.5%).
Table 1: Age and Sex distribution of the patients

Click here to view
Table 2: Occupation of the patients

Click here to view
Table 3: Causes of bilateral blindness

Click here to view
Figure 1: A 25 - year - old lady with bilateral blindness following battery water acid assault

Click here to view
Figure 2: A 22 - year - old boy with bilateral blindness following acid assault

Click here to view
Figure 3: A 9 - year - old boy with bilateral blindness following snake bite

Click here to view

Psychological effects

All patients had interaction with behavioural scientist; three of the patients in the study refused to interact with members of their family and withdrew to themselves and hence underwent psychological evaluation and were confirmed to have developed depression. The remaining had anxiety and fear of loss of job, spouse, and independence.

  Discussion Top

Only 16 cases of bilateral traumatic blindness were treated at our hospital during 15 years study period; these small number agreed with other previous studies which reported lower cases of bilateral traumatic blindness. [7],[9],[10],[11]

The trauma is more in young male patients due to their occupation and outdoor activities which is consistent with other studies. [6],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14] Students and artisan accounted for majority of cases in this report in contrast to report from Cambodia [6] and Afghan [9] where higher prevalence of bilateral landmine blindness were found in soldiers and civilians. A chemical injury from car battery water assault was responsible for highest number of the blindness in our study. This is different from finding of previous studies. [6],[9] The difference may be due to easy access to car battery acid in our environment because of the unrestricted control on its sale.

There were 2 cases of bilateral removal of eyes presumably for rituals in 6 and 10 year old children at farms. The practice of ritual eye removal for money making or other spiritual purposes has been earlier reported by Popoola et al. [15]

Cases of assault tend to be bilateral and severe, resulting in bilateral blindness as opposed to accidental injuries. The prevalence of bilateral traumatic blindness was common among the Yorubas because the study was done in a predominantly Yoruba-speaking area of Nigeria.

A sudden bilateral blindness in a person has far reaching psychological effect. In the young student, it is a calamity to both the parent and the country in term of blind years. The major psychological effects were denials, depression, and aggression in some individuals. Sudden loss of economic and career prospect may lead to suicidal tendency, which were noted and managed in 3 of our cases. The effect of trauma to the eye should be incorporated in to the Nigeria education curriculum, and also there should be a regulation and legislature on the availability and accessibility to car water battery in our environment. Its regulation will significantly reduce the incidence of chemical bilateral eye blindness in our environment. There should be a regular health education campaign on the various possible risk factors and causes of eye injury and blindness.

Government should review the rehabilitation of blind policy so that this group of people will be able to cater for themselves and contribute to the development of the country.

  Conclusion Top

Chemical injury accounts for most cases of bilateral blindness in our environment, and because of the devastating effect on the affected individual and the society, the importance of prevention in terms of education and legislature is underscored.

  References Top

1.Lewallen S, Courtright P. Blindness in Africa: Present situation and future needs. Br J Ophthalmol 2001;85:897-903.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Negrel AD, Thylefors B. The global impact of eye injuries. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 1998;5:143-69.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Thylefors B. Epidemiological patterns of ocular trauma. Aust N Z J Ophthalmol 1992;20:95-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Nordber E. Injuries as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa: Epidemiology and prospects for control. East Afr Med J 2000;77 (12 Suppl):1-43.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Monsudi KF, Mahmoud AO, Adepoju FG, Ibrahim A. Impact of Cataract Surgery on Visual function and Quality of life in Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria. Br J Med Health Sci 2012;3:80-99.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Whitcher JP, Srinivasan M, Upadhyay MP. Corneal blindness: A global perspective. Bull World Health Organ 2001;79:214-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Jackson H. Bilateral blindness due to trauma in Cambodia. Eye 1996;10:517-20.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Kinderan YV, Shrestha E, Maharjan IM, Karmacharya S. Pattern of ocular trauma in the Western Region of Nepal. Nepal J Ophthalmol 2012;4:5-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2006 population census. Available from: http://www.nigerianstat.gov.ng/Connections/Pop2006.pdf [Last accessed on 2013 Jun].  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Khan MD, Kundi N, Mohammed Z, Nazeer A, Gulab A. Ocular war trauma in Afghan refugees of Russian invasion. Pak J Ophthalmol 1987;3:75-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Monsudi KF, Ayanniyi AA. Ocular trauma in Birnin Kebbi. Hamdan Med J 2013;6:85-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Adeboye AO, Olateju SO, Soetan EO. Communal conflict-related ocular trauma. Niger J Clin Pract 2002;5:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Soylu M, Sizmaz S, Cayli S. Ocular injury in SouthernTurkey: Epidermiology, ocular survival and outcome. Int Ophthalmol 2010;30:143-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Oluleye TS, Ajaiyeoba AI, Akinwale MO, Olusanya BA. Causes of blindness in southwestern Nigeria: A general hospital clinic study. Eur J Ophthalmol 2006;16:604-7.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Popoola SD, Odebode TO, Adigun A I. Intentional enucleation of the eyes: An unusual cause of binocular blindness. World J Med Sci 2006;1:158-61.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Current pattern of ocular trauma as seen in tertiary institutions in south-eastern Nigeria
Chinwe Cynthia Jac-Okereke, Chukwunonso Azubuike Jac-Okereke, Ifeoma Regina Ezegwui, Rich Enujioke Umeh
BMC Ophthalmology. 2021; 21(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Ocular Trauma Trends in Indonesia: Poor Initial Uncorrected Visual Acuity Associated with Mechanism of Injury
Sauli Ari Widjaja,Yoshimune Hiratsuka,Koichi Ono,Ima Yustiarini,Nurwasis Nurwasis,Akira Murakami
Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2021; 9(B): 903
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Materials and Me...
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded468    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal