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J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2011 Feb;21(2):88-92. doi: 02.2011/JCPSP.8892.

Causes of visual impairment in children with low vision.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.



To determine the main causes of visual impairment in children with low vision. To assess the need of spectacles and low vision devices (LVDs) in children and to evaluate visual outcome after using their LVDs for far and near distance.


Observational study.


Khyber Institute of Ophthalmic Medical Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan, from June 2006 to December 2007.


The clinical record of 270 children with low vision age 4-16 years attending the Low Vision Clinic were included. All those children, aged 4-16 years, who had corrected visual acuity (VA) less than 6/18 in the better eye after medical or surgical treatment, were included in the study. WHO low vision criteria were used to classify into visually impaired, severe visually impaired and blind. Results were described as percentage frequencies.


One hundred and eighty nine (70%) were males and 81 (30%) were females. The male to female ratio was 2.3:1. The main causes of visual impairment included nystagmus (15%), Stargardt's disease (14%), maculopathies (13%), myopic macular degeneration (11%) and oculocutaneous albinism (7%). The percentages of visually impaired, severe visually impaired and blind were 33.8%, 27.2% and 39.0% respectively. Spectacles were prescribed to 146 patients and telescopes were prescribed to 75 patients. Spectacles and telescope both were prescribed to 179 patients while Ocutech telescope was prescribed to 4 patients.


Retinal diseases nystagmus and macular conditions were mainly responsible for low vision in children. Visually impaired children especially with hereditary/congenital ocular anomalies benefit from refraction and low vision services which facilitate vision enhancement and inclusive education.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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