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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2018 Jul-Sep;25(3):161-165. doi: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_46_18.

Visual status of special needs children in special education schools in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar; Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.



The objective of this study was to determine visual status of children with special needs attending special schools in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

Subjects and Methods:

A cross-sectional study of all children with special needs attending special education schools in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area, Cross River State, was performed. Data were obtained using interviewer-administered questionnaires on the caregivers and ocular examination of the children which included visual acuity, refraction, ocular alignment and motility tests and funduscopy. Data analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20.


A total of 161 children with special needs out of the 176 enrolled were examined yielding a 91.5% response rate. The male-to-female ratio was 1.2:1. Their age range was 5-17 years with the mean age of 12.9 ± 3.3 years and a modal age group of ≥13 years. Twenty (12.4%) had visual impairment (VI). Uncorrected refractive error accounted for 12 (60%) of the VI. Children with learning disability (odds ratio [OR]: 3.28 and 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.73-6.36) and developmental disability (OR: 1.90 and 95% CI: 1.10-3.20), respectively, had significantly higher occurrence of VI. Of the 161 children examined, only 11 (6.8%) have had their visual status assessed in the past.


Children with special needs had higher prevalence of VI; however, only a few have had an assessment of their visual status in the past.


Aphakia; developmental disability; learning disability; refractive error; special needs; visual impairment

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