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November 1985

Blindness in a Zairian City

Author Affiliations

Kananga, Zaire; Kinshasa, Zaire

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(11):1754-1756. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050110150046

A random sample of residents of the city of Kananga, Zaire, showed a prevalence of bilateral blindness of 0.090% ± 0.088%. The prevalence of unilateral blindness was 0.767% ± 0.472%. Bilateral blindness occurred mainly in persons over age 45 years, while unilateral blindness was found in persons of all ages. The major causes of blindness appeared to be glaucoma, corneal scarring, trauma, and cataract.

The city of Kananga is the administrative and commercial headquarters of the West Kasai Region of the Republic of Zaire. The population of the city proper was 338,000 in 1981, according to government estimates.

The countryside around Kananga is wooded savannah cut by rivers, the largest being the Lulua, which passes a few kilometers west of the city. Many Kananga families raise some of their food, either in the gullies and valleys of the city itself or in fields outside the city. The principal employers are

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