Prevalence of Blindness and Visual Impairment in Nigeria: The National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

Fatima Kyari, Murthy V. S. Gudlavalleti*, Selvaraj Sivsubramaniam, Clare E. Gilbert, Mohammed M. Abdull, Gabriel Entekume, Allen Foster, Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment study group, Selvaraj Sivasubramaniam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. To determine the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among adults aged >= 40 years in Nigeria.

METHODS. Multistage, stratified, cluster random sampling with probability proportional to size procedures was used to identify a cross-sectional nationally representative sample of 15,027 persons >= 40 years of age from all 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. Distance visual acuity (VA) was measured with a reduced logMAR tumbling-E chart at 4 and 1 m. Presenting and best corrected visual acuities were recorded. Autorefraction was performed in all examined adults. Clinical evaluations included examination under dilation for those with presenting vision <6/12 in either eye.

RESULTS. In the study, 15,122 persons aged >= 40 years were enumerated and 13,599 (89.9%) examined. Prevalence of blindness (<20/400 in the better eye) and severe visual impairment (<20/200-20/400; presenting vision) was 4.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.8%-4.6%) and 1.5% (95% CI: 1.3%-1.7%), respectively. Blindness was associated with increasing age, being female, poor literacy, and residence in the North. Participants residing in the South West had the lowest prevalence while those in the North East had the highest prevalence of blindness. It is estimated that 4.25 million adults aged >= 40 years have moderate to severe visual impairment or blindness (<20/63 in the better eye).

CONCLUSIONS. There is a high prevalence of blindness and severe visual impairment among those aged >= 40 years in Nigeria. Significant differences exist between the geopolitical zones and emphasis should be on ensuring eye services across Nigeria, which means that planning at the regional level is necessary. (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009;50:2033-2039) DOI:10.1167/iovs.08-3133

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2033-2039
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • design
  • chart
  • South-Western Nigeria
  • eye examination methodology
  • area
  • Anambra State
  • communities
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • low-vision
  • adult bone-marrow
  • age distribution
  • aged
  • aged 80 and over
  • blindness
  • female
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • Nigeria
  • prevalence
  • risk factors
  • sex distribution
  • vision
  • visual acuity
  • visually impaired persons


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