Leprosy blindness in Nepal.
Leprosy is a systemic disease with highest incidence of ocular complications and one of the important causes of blindness in the world. A comparative cross-sectional study was carried out to see the ocular involvement in leprosy leading to blindness in two groups of patients, one with the active disease and second already cured and thus released from treatment (RFT). Active cases attending Anandaban leprosy clinic, Patan hospital and RFT cases from Khokana leprosarium were included in the study consecutively. Total of 70 active cases and 101 RFT cases were evaluated during the study period. Active group of patients showed more of multibacillary type of disease than in RFT group. The prevalence of ocular manifestations was seen much higher among RFT cases accounting for 66.3% in contrast to active group where only 14.3% had ocular problems. Blindness was frequently seen in multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients in compare to paucibacillary (PB) disease in both the groups. However blindness frequency was seen more often among RFT cases accounting for 24% in compare to only 2.9% among active group. Causes of blindness were mainly corneal and cataract related disorders. Risk of blindness also increased with the increase in duration of illness. RFT group of leprosy patients are at higher risk of developing blindness than the active group thus eye care services should be more focused for this group. Having multibacillary type of disease could also be a risk for development of blindness.