Ocular findings in leprosy patients in Nepal in the era of multidrug therapy.
PURPOSE: Detailed ophthalmic evaluation was performed to determine the prevalence of ocular complications among leprosy patients on multidrug therapy and those released from multidrug treatment.
DESIGN: Observational case series.
METHODS: Leprosy patients at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital from April 1, 2001, through September 30, 2002, underwent detailed ophthalmic evaluation including slit-lamp biomicroscopy, dilated funduscopy, and applanation tonometry.
RESULTS: We evaluated 58 leprosy patients. A majority (72%) was receiving treatment for multibacillary leprosy; 14% belonged to posttreatment multibacillary and paucibacillary groups. Ocular involvement was found in 57% of patients. In the multibacillary group, 55% had ocular involvement, which was more than double that found in the paucibacillary group (25%), although this finding was not statistically significant (P =.187). Among patients with ocular complications, 48% had visual disability and another 45% had threatened vision; 9% met World Health Organization guidelines for blindness. Uveitis and its complications were the predominant causes of visual disability (88%).
CONCLUSION: Ocular complications and visual disability are high among leprosy patients in Nepal even after completing multidrug therapy.