Xerophthalmia and anterior-segment blindness among preschool-age children in El Salvador

Alfred Sommer, Jose Quesada, Margaret Doty, Gerald Faich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A countrywide prevalence survey of 9,508 children was conducted in El Salvador to determine the prevalence of anterior-segment abnormalities and magnitude of clinical vitamin A deficiency. Thirty-six children had corneal opacities, 56% of them secondary to trauma. Such traumatic corneal opacities were 19 times more frequent among urban than rural children, 57.6 vs. 3.1 per 1,000. Keratomalacia accounted for only 8% of all corneal opacities, and for one (and possibly two) of the five cases of bilateral anterior-segment blindness encountered. The prevalence of Bitot spots and vitamin-A-related corneal opacities was 5.3 and 3.2 per 10,000, respectively. There are an estimated 43 new surviving cases of vitamin-A-related corneal opacities in the country each year, one third of which result in bilateral blindness. Fifteen percent of all children examined had grossly purulent conjunctivitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1072
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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