Magnitude and Causes of Low Vision Disability (Moderate and Severe Visual Impairment) among Students of Al-Noor Institute for the Blind in Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia : A case series

Fahad Al-Wadani, Rajiv Khandekar, Muneera A. Al-Hussain, Ahmed A. Alkhawaja, Mohammed Sarfaraz Khan, Ramzy A Alsulaiman


Objectives: This study aimed to estimate the magnitude and causes of low vision disability (severe visual impairment [SVI] and moderate visual impairment [MVI]) among students at Al-Noor Institute for the Blind (NIB) in Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia in 2006. Methods: An optometrist conducted refraction of 122 eyes of the 61 students (27 boys and 34 girls) with MVI (vision <6/18 to 6/60) and SVI (vision <6/60 to 3/60). Ophthalmologists examined the anterior and posterior segments, and analysed the outcomes of additional investigations to finalise the diagnosis. The results were categorised as ‘preventable’, ‘treatable’ and ‘not amenable to treatment’. The low vision care was also reviewed. Results: In 12 (9.8%) eyes, visual acuity was ≥6/18 and in 28 (23%) eyes, it was <3/60. MVI and SVI were found in 82 eyes (67.2%). Hereditary retinal disorders were found in 68 (55.7%) eyes. Although refractive errors were found in 112 (91.8%) eyes, isolated refractive error was found in only 9 students. Congenital glaucoma and cataract were responsible for visual impairment in 16 (13.1%) and 9 (7.4%) eyes. These students were prescribed optical and non-optical low vision aids. Conclusion:Retinal disease was the main cause of SVI and MVI in our series. Some students at Al-Noor Institute for the Blind have curable low vision conditions. Rehabilitation of low vision disability should be different from that offered to the absolutely blind.


Blindness; Low Vision; Children, Rehabilitation; Saudi Arabia.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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