Blindness in West Africa

by F. C. Rodger, M.D., Ch.M., D.O.M.S., F.R.S.T.M. & H. 1st. edition, 262 pages, illustrated. London, H. K. Lewis & Co., Ltd. (for the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind), 1959. £ 3-10-0

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This monograph is the most comprehensive and critical study of the prevalence and etiology of blindness in any tropical region. Comprehending three extensive areas in West Africa, viz., Northern Ghana, North Nigeria and adjacent North Cameroons (British Trust Territory), the investigation by the author covered 4 years of intensive study in a random sampling of many villages, most of which were in back country difficult of access.

In Part I, following a description of the areas surveyed, their geographical location, topography, climate, flora and fauna, the racial and tribal characteristics, customs and pursuits of the inhabitants, Rodger reports on previous surveys, then proceeds to present the plan of his research and his findings. Among the common eye diseases observed were trachoma, purulent conjunctivitis, punctate keratitis due to herpes febrilis and adenovirus following malaria, corneal ulceration as a sequela to smallpox and measles, leprosy, syphilis, onchocerciasis, traumatic damage, senile cataract and avitaminosis A.