Aims To assess associations of visual function (VF) and quality of life (QOL) by visual acuity (VA), causes of blindness and types of cataract procedures in Nigeria.
Methods Multi-stage stratified cluster random sampling was used to identify a nationally representative sample of persons aged >= 40 years. VF/QOL questionnaires were administered to participants with VA <6/60 in one or both eyes and/or MehraeMinassian cataract grade 2B or 3 in one or both eyes and a random sample of those with bilateral VA >= 6/12.
Results VF/QOL questionnaires were administered to 2076 participants. Spearman's rank correlation showed a strong correlation between decreasing VA and VF/QOL scores (p<0.0001) with greatest impact on social (p<0.0001) and mobility-related activities (p<0.0001). People who were blind due to glaucoma had lower VF and QOL scores than those who were blind due to cataract. Mean VF and QOL scores were lower after couching compared with conventional cataract surgery (mean VF score=51.0 vs 63.0 and mean QOL score=71.3 vs 79.3). Finally, VF and QOL scores were lower among populations with specific characteristics.
Conclusions Populations with the following characteristics should be targeted to improve VF and QOL: people who are blind, older people, women, manual labourers, people living in rural areas, those living in the northern geopolitical zones, those practising Islamic and Traditionalism faith, those not currently married and those who have undergone couching.