Ophthalmic Findings and Their Effect on Visual Function in Persons with Albinism in Southern Nigeria

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Ihunanya Ibanga
Chinyere N. Pedro-Egbe
Alfred A. Onua
Bassey Fiebai


Aim: To determine the pattern of ocular disorders in persons with albinism and how they affect visual function.

Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted over a five-month period on persons living with albinism in Southern Nigeria. The study participants were randomly selected during the monthly meetings of a support group known as The Albinism Foundation (TAF).Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity were assessed using the ETDRS visual acuity chart and Pelli Robson contrast sensitivity test chart. A comprehensive eye examination including dilated fundoscopy was also carried out to determine other ocular disorders. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 22 and statistical significance was set at a p-value ≤ 0.05.

Results: A total of 116 PWA (232 eyes) were examined. There were 44 (37.9%) males and 72 (62.1%) females. The age of the study subjects ranged from 5 to 56 years. Most eyes were visually impaired for both distance (n=228; 98.3%) and near vision (n= 224; 96.6%). Contrast sensitivity in most eyes (n=138; 59.5%) was subnormal. With refraction and Low Vision Aid (LVA), there was significant improvement of the mean VA by 2-3 acuity lines and 6 acuity lines respectively (p=0.000). All the examined eyes had fundus hypo-pigmentation, 91.4% (n=212) had iris trans-illumination, 86.2% (n=200) had nystagmus, and 34.4% (n=80) had strabismus. Nystagmus, strabismus and iris trans-illumination significantly (p=0.00) reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity.

Conclusion: Most study participants had reduced distance visual acuity and contrast sensitivity but with correction there was a significant improvement in vision. The presence of nystagmus, strabismus and iris trans-illumination were observed to contribute to the poor vision experienced by most persons living with albinism. Hence, early optical intervention and counselling is important in improving the quality of living of persons with albinism.

Albinism, Nigeria, ocular albinism, ophthalmic findings, visual effect

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How to Cite
Ibanga, I., Pedro-Egbe, C., Onua, A., & Fiebai, B. (2019). Ophthalmic Findings and Their Effect on Visual Function in Persons with Albinism in Southern Nigeria. Ophthalmology Research: An International Journal, 10(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.9734/or/2019/v10i130095
Original Research Article