Making blind children see: Impact of correcting moderate and severe visual impairment in schools for the blind
Parikshit M Gogate1, Tonmoy Chottopadhyay2, Hardeep Kaur2, Sravanthi Narayandas2, Supriya Phadke3, Meena Kharat3, Ashok Dhangar3, Minaj Inamdar3, Akshay Badkere4, Rohit C Khanna5
1 Community Eye Care Foundation, Dr. Gogate's Eye Clinic; Department of Ophthalmology, D.Y. Patil Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India, India
2 School of Optometry, Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Community Eye Care Foundation, Dr. Gogate's Eye Clinic, Pune, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
5 Allen Foster Community Eye Health Research Centre, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye Care; Brien Holden Eye Research Centre, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India; School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Parikshit M Gogate
Community Eye Care Foundation, Dr. Gogate's Eye Clinic, 102, Kumar Garima, Tadiwala Road, Pune - 411 001, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
PURPOSE: Childhood blindness and visual impairment accounts for enormous burden of blindness. This study aimed to analyze the causes of severe visual impairment and blindness in students attending schools for the blind and to identify those whose vision could be improved by optical aids. On dispensing such aids, the study also aimed to analyze the improvement in their vision function.
METHODS: This was a prospective interventional study of 428 certified students from four special schools for blind. All the students underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination by a team of four ophthalmologists and four optometrists. The World Health Organization-Prevention of Blindness forms were used to record history and examination details. Spectacles and low-vision aids (LVAs) were dispensed to those whose vision could be improved. The main outcome measure was L V Prasad- Functional Vision Questionnaire (LVP-VFQ), which was used to compare the vision function before and 6 months after the intervention.
RESULTS: Two hundred and thirteen (49.5%) students were girls. The causes of blindness in 370 children (<18 years) with vision <6/60 were whole globe involvement in 117 (31.6%) students (this included anophthalmos 47 [12.7%], microphthalmos 61 [16.4%], both 9 [2.4%]), nystagmus 29 (7.8%), optic atrophy 22 (5.9%), retinal causes 42 (11.3%), cataract 18 (4.9%), phthisis bulbi 24 (6.4%), corneal scarring in 40 (10.8%), and retinopathy of prematurity in 4 (1.1%). Fifty-four (12.6%) students were given spectacles and 41 (9.57%) LVA. There was a statistically significant difference in all questions (P < 0.01) of LVP-VFQ for the students dispensed with optical aids 6 months after the intervention. Twenty-four students had their vision improved to 6/60 or better, whereas 26 could now identify letters and print.
CONCLUSION: A significant proportion of students in schools for the blind can be helped to improving vision function using optical aids. Students in schools for the blind, nay all visually impaired individuals, need periodic ocular examination and ophthalmic care.