Vol 40 No 1 Original Article PDF

Causes of Blindness and Severe Visual Impairment among Children Enrolled in an Early Intervention and Preschool Program of a School for the Blind in the Philippines

Paul Samuel V. Del Mundo, MD, Carlos Emmanuel M. Chua, MD


To identify the avoidable causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment in a school of the blind in the Philippines.


The medical records of students enrolled at the Resources for the Blind early intervention and preschool program from 1999 to 2012 were reviewed. Demographic characteristics and causes of visual disability were abstracted and tabulated.


A total of 90 records were included in the study. Eighty six (76.7%) had visual acuity classified as blind (<20/400) or severe visual impairment (<20/200 – 20/400, 18.9%). Majority (69.8%) were below 6 years of age and most (44.2%) were below 1 year. Retinopathy of prematurity was the most common cause (47.7%), followed by retinoblastoma (11.6%). Perinatal factors accounted for most of the etiologic causes (58.1%) of visual loss.


More than half of the causes of severe visual impairment and blindness were potentially avoidable, with retinopathy of prematurity as the leading etiology.

Keywords: childhood blindness, severe visual impairment, school for the blind, retinopathy of prematurity