Posterior segment eye disease in sub-Saharan Africa: review of recent population-based studies

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the burden of posterior segment eye diseases (PSEDs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Methods

We reviewed published population-based data from SSA and other relevant populations on the leading PSED, specifically glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, as causes of blindness and visual impairment in adults. Data were extracted from population-based studies conducted in SSA and elsewhere where relevant.

Results

PSEDs, when grouped or as individual diseases, are a major contributor to blindness and visual impairment in SSA. PSED, grouped together, was usually the second leading cause of blindness after cataract, ranging as a proportion of blindness from 13 to 37%.

Conclusions

PSEDs are likely to grow in importance as causes of visual impairment and blindness in SSA in the coming years as populations grow, age and become more urban in lifestyle. African-based cohort studies are required to help estimate present and future needs and plan services to prevent avoidable blindness.

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