Ocular Complications of Leprosy in Yemen

Raga A A. Salem

Abstract


Objectives: This study was conducted to identify the main ocular- and vision-threatening complications of leprosy in Yemen. Methods: This is a cross-sectional observational study which took place from February to July 2010. Leprosy patients attending the Skin and Venereal Diseases Hospital in the City of Light in Taiz, Yemen, who consented to participate in the study, were enrolled. Detailed demographic and medical histories were taken and clinical examination findings were recorded. A detailed eye examination, including visual acuity (VA), slit-lamp, and fundus examinations, was conducted on each patient by a qualified ophthalmologist. Results: A total of 192 patients (180 male, 12 female, with a male to female ratio of 15:1) were included in the study. The majority of the patients (157; 81.8%) were over 40 years. Over two-thirds of the patients (129; 67.2%) had had leprosy for more than 20 years. Ocular complications were found in 97% of cases; 150 (39.1%) of the patients’ eyes had at least one pathology. Eyelid involvement was the most common problem observed in 102 (26.5%) patients. Half of the eyes (192; 50%) had a VA of <6/60. The main cause of blindness among these patients was corneal opacity detected in 69 out of 192 patients (35.9%). Conclusion: Ocular complications are frequent among leprosy patients in Yemen. They are true vision-threatening lesions. It is important to prevent these lesions through early diagnosis and adequate treatment.



Keywords


Leprosy; Blindness; Corneal opacity; Eyelid; Yemen.

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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

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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