oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Blindness in the Luapula valley

Volume 13, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The incidence of blindness in this valley was found to be 566 per 100,000. Of this blindness, 83 per cent. occurred before the age of ten and the majority was due to corneal lesions or phthisis bulbi. It is shown that the diet, particularly of the children, is grossly deficient in vitamin A and it is suggested that although carotene is usually readily available, its absorption may be hindered by the low fat content of the diet. Infants with keratomalacia were seen and in many cases there was a history of recent measles. It was concluded that, while 18 per cent. of the blindness is associated with smallpox, vitamin A deficiency frequently causing frank keratomalacia was the most important cause of blindness in the Luapula valley. Recommendations for prevention and treatment are made.

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