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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-319

Incidence and complications of traditional eye medications in Nigeria in a teaching hospital


Department of Ophthalmology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Catherine U Ukponmwan
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1111, Benin City
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.71596

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the types and nature of traditional eye medications (TEMs), their sources, and the ocular complications that may arise from use in a teaching hospital in Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A prospective study of consecutive subjects who used TEM before presentation to the Eye Clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2008. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 113 subjects were evaluated of which 64 were males (56.6%), females (43.4%) were females. There was no significant difference in the number of males and females (P > 0.05). Rural dwellers were more likely to use TEM than urban dwellers (P < 0.0001). The mean age of the subjects was 47.9 ΁ 22.3 years (range, 4-90 years). The most common traditional medication was derived from plant extracts (54.9%) followed by concoctions (21.2%). Complications occurred in 54.8% of the subjects. Ocular complications included corneal opacities in 13.35% of subjects, staphyloma in 9%, and corneal ulcers in 8%. Other complications were panophthalmitis, endophthalmitis, uveitis, cataract, and bullous keratopathy. Eleven subjects underwent evisceration or enucleation of the affected eye. There was no significant difference in the type of medication used and ocular complications (P = 0.956). Sources of TEM were self-medication in 38.9% of subjects, relatives in 27.4%, and traditional healers in 17.7%. Conclusion: The use of TEM is a common practice that could be harmful and lead to blindness. Proper health education of the public and traditional healers can reduce the prevalence of preventable blindness.


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