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Distribution of Ocular Disorders in Communities Affected by Crude Oil-spillage in Rivers State

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  • University of uyo/Siloam eye foundation

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Objective: To assess the ocular disorders prevalent in communities affected by crude oil-spillage in Rivers State. Methods: A cross sectional study involving participants at a one day free eye screening event in Ogu Bolo Local Government area of Rivers State. Participants had comprehensive ocular examination, a pen torch examination of the anterior segment and a direct fundoscopy using the Welch Alllyn Ophthalmoscope, Tonometry was done using the Keeler Pulse air tonometer and those with minor ocular pathologies were treated on site while more chronic disease were referred to a private Ophthalmology group practice. Statistical Analysis: Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. Descriptive statistics employed mean, median, standard deviation and range values. Frequencies and proportions were used for categorical variables. Results: The mean age was 46.76±16.03 years while the age range was 1-90 years. The male to female ratio was 1:1.1. About 57.9% and 57.1% of the people had visual acuity better than 6/18 in the right and left eyes respectively. About 19.7% and 20.1% had visual acuity worse than 6/36 in the right and left eyes respectively. The commonest Ocular disorder was Refractive Error (33.6%).This was followed by Presbyopia (17.8%), Cataract (15.1%), Allergic Conjunctivitis (6.5%) while Ocular albinism was least (0.2%). Conclusion: Ocular anterior segment disorders are prevalent in communities affected by oil spillage and could be due to exposure to petroleum-related chemical irritants.
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*Corresponding author: E-mail: favouredchinawa@gmail.com;
Ophthalmology Research: An International Journal
11(3): 1-5, 2019; Article no.OR.53290
ISSN: 2321-7227
Distribution of Ocular Disorders in Communities
Affected by Crude Oil-spillage in Rivers State
E. A. Awoyesuku
1
, N. E. Chinawa
2*
and S. C. Ejimadu
1
1
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Akwaibom State, Nigeria.
Authors’ contributions
This work was carried out in collaboration among all authors. Author EAA designed the study,
performed the statistical analysis, wrote the protocol and wrote the first draft of the manuscript.
Authors NEC and SCE managed the analyses of the study. Author SCE managed the literature
searches. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Article Information
DOI: 10.9734/OR/2019/v11i330126
Editor(s):
(1) Dr. Stephen G. Schwartz, Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute,
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, USA.
Reviewers:
(1)
Adnan Aksoy, Sutcu Imam University, Turkey.
(2)
Tayo Julius Bogunjoko, Nigeria.
(3)
Italo Giuffre, Catholic University of Rome, Italy.
Complete Peer review History:
http://www.sdiarticle4.com/review-history/53290
Received 18 October 2019
Accepted 21 December 2019
Published 25 December 2019
ABSTRACT
Objective:
To assess the ocular disorders prevalent in communities affected by crude oil-spillage in
Rivers State.
Methods: A cross sectional study involving participants at a one day free eye screening event in
Ogu Bolo Local Government area of Rivers State. Participants had comprehensive ocular
examination, a pen torch examination of the anterior segment and a direct fundoscopy using the
Welch Alllyn Ophthalmoscope, Tonometry was done using the Keeler Pulse air tonometer and those
with minor ocular pathologies were treated on site while more chronic disease were referred to a
private Ophthalmology group practice.
Statistical Analysis: Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS)
version 20.0. Descriptive statistics employed mean, median, standard deviation and range values.
Frequencies and proportions were used for categorical variables.
Results: The mean age was 46.76±16.03 years while the age range was 1-90 years. The male to
female ratio was 1:1.1. About 57.9% and 57.1% of the people had visual acuity better than 6/18 in
Original Research Article
Awoyesuku et al.; OR, 11(3): 1-5, 2019; Article no.OR.53290
2
the right and left eyes respectively. About 19.7% and 20.1% had visual acuity worse than 6/36 in the
right and left eyes respectively. The commonest Ocular disorder was Refractive Error (33.6%).This
was followed by Presbyopia (17.8%), Cataract (15.1%), Allergic Conjunctivitis (6.5%) while Ocular
albinism was least (0.2%).
Conclusion: Ocular anterior segment disorders are prevalent in communities affected by oil spillage
and could be due to exposure to petroleum-related chemical irritants.
Keywords: Anterior segment; communities; irritants; oil spillage.
1. INTRODUCTION
Oil extraction and spillage may cause extensive
environmental contamination and this may affect
the health of population living in surrounding
areas [1]. The health effects of exposure to oil
related contamination have been mainly studied
after oil spills among clean-up workers and
residents of the affected coastal areas [2].
Populace living around oil exploring and refining
area are exposed to various chemical irritants
used in the refining of petroleum products. These
include gaseous and particulate matter such as
hydrogen sulphide and other hydrogen gases,
catalyst dust, ammonium compounds, carbon
black, fuel gases, and other hydrocarbons [3].
They are also exposed to heat, steam, acids,
caustic soda, asbestos, radioactive materials,
and liquid lead compounds [3]. These exposure
is heightened in event of oil spillage at which
time these chemicals may affect the eyes
especially if protective goggles are not worn.
They could also be exposed to non-petroleum
related hazards like trauma and smokes.
The ocular surface is a delicate structure and it is
vulnerable to potential environmental insults
especially because of its anatomic location [4,5].
Ocular side effects associated with exposure to
these irritants include photokeratitis,
characterized by pain and grittiness. This could
result in reduced corneal sensitivity and
subsequently damage to the cornea. Long term
exposure predisposes the eye to ocular surface
disorders such as pterygia, pinguenculae, band
keratopathy and climatic drop keratopathy [6].
Ocular surface diseases affect sight as well as
quality of life and even blindness if not managed
properly. Other ocular disorders that could result
from such exposure include blepharitis,
presbyopia, cataract and glaucoma etc [7].
These insults can however be reduced when the
individuals are properly educated on the
importance of seeking health care early and
proper use of safety measures to prevent ocular
disorder [7,8].
2. METHODOLOGY
2.1 Methods
A cross sectional study involving participants at a
4- day free eye screening event in Ogu Bolo
Local Government area of Rivers State between
August-September 2018. Ogu- Bolo Local Govt.
area is one of the Local Government areas in
Rivers State with a population of 74,683. It has
several satellite villages and fishing settlements.
The inhabitants are mainly fishermen but recently
a lot of illegal bunkering activities have thrived in
these areas leading to environmental
degradation and pollution.
On each day of the outreach a health talk was
given prior to screening. Participants had
comprehensive ocular examination including
visual acuity estimation using literate and
illiterate Snellen distant acuity charts, Near vision
was tested using near chart, then each patient
had a pen torch examination of the anterior
segment and a direct fundoscopy using the
Welch Alllyn Ophthalmoscope, Tonometry was
done using the Keeler Pulse air tonometer and
those with minor ocular pathologies were
treated on site while more chronic disease were
referred to a private Ophthalmology group
practice.
2.2 Statistical Analysis
Data was analysed using the Statistical Package
for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0.
Descriptive statistics employed mean, median,
standard deviation and range values.
Frequencies and proportions were used for
categorical variables.
3. RESULTS
Data were collected from a total of 1726
residents of oil-spillage communities.
The mean age was 46.76±16.03 years while the
age range was 1-90 years as shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Summary of ages of residents
Age in years
Mean±SD
46.76 ± 16.03 years
Table 2. Frequency of male and female community residents
Sex
Number
Female
929
Male
797
Total
1726
Table 3. Visual acuity findings
Right Eye
6/18 - 6/36
Left Eye
6/18 - 6/36
Fig. 1. Distribution of eye disorders among community residents of oil
The male to
female ratio was 1:1.1 as shown in
Table 2.
About 57.9% and 57.1% of the populace had
visual acuity better than 6/18 in the right and left
eyes respectively. About 19.7% and 20.1% had
visual acuity worse than 6/36 in the right and left
eyes respectively a
s shown in Table 3.
The commonest Ocular disorder was Refractive
Error (33.6%).This was followed sequentially by
Awoyesuku et al.; OR, 11(3): 1-5, 2019
; Article no.OR.53290
3
Table 1. Summary of ages of residents
Median
Min - Max
46.76 ± 16.03 years
46.50 years 1 – 90
years
SD – Standard deviation
Table 2. Frequency of male and female community residents
Number
%
929
53.8
797
46.2
1726
100.0
Table 3. Visual acuity findings
Number
%
Better than 6/18
999 57.9
386 22.4
Worse than 6/36
341 19.7
Better than 6/18
985 57.1
394 22.8
Worse than 6/36
347 20.1
Fig. 1. Distribution of eye disorders among community residents of oil
-
spillage communities
female ratio was 1:1.1 as shown in
About 57.9% and 57.1% of the populace had
visual acuity better than 6/18 in the right and left
eyes respectively. About 19.7% and 20.1% had
visual acuity worse than 6/36 in the right and left
s shown in Table 3.
The commonest Ocular disorder was Refractive
Error (33.6%).This was followed sequentially by
Presbyopia (17.8%), Cataract (15.1%), Allergic
Conjunctivitis (6.5%) while Ocular albinism was
least (0.2%) as shown in Fig. 1.
4. DISCUSSION
The study was carried out in communities
affected by oil spillage and thus members of the
community are therefore constantly exposed to
pollutants and chemical irritants which include
carbon black, hydrogen sulphide and other
; Article no.OR.53290
years
spillage communities
Presbyopia (17.8%), Cataract (15.1%), Allergic
Conjunctivitis (6.5%) while Ocular albinism was
The study was carried out in communities
affected by oil spillage and thus members of the
community are therefore constantly exposed to
pollutants and chemical irritants which include
carbon black, hydrogen sulphide and other
Awoyesuku et al.; OR, 11(3): 1-5, 2019; Article no.OR.53290
4
hydrogen gases, ammonium compounds,
catalyst dust etc [3].
The mean age was 46.76±16.03 years with an
age range of 1-90 years. This shows that they
would be exposed to variety of ocular diseases
because virtually all age groups were
represented. The commonest presentation was
refractive error and this was in keeping to the
findings by Ani, et al., Anyiam, et al. and
Abraham et al in their studies in same oil rich
Niger Delta region of Nigeria [6,9,10]. The high
prevalence of refractive error may not solely be
related to these irritants because refractive error
was also found to be the commonest cause of
mild and moderate visual impairment in the
countrys (Nigerian National blindness survey)
survey. This could therefore be due to the
common occurrence of these conditions in the
general population. The high incidence of
presbyopia could be explained by the fact that a
good number of the populace were in the
presbyopic vulnerable age group bearing in mind
the mean age of the study population. Cataract
constituted 15.1% and this could be both age
dependent and also exposure to these
irritants.
Ocular surface diseases like Allergic
conjunctivitis and Pterygia constituted more than
10% of ocular diseases. Tebepah [11] in a similar
study found allergic conjunctivitis to be the
commonest eye disorder. Acute and chronic
ocular irritation and exacerbated allergic
conjunctivitis could be due to exposure to toxic
refinery chemicals [3,10,12,13]. Maculopathy
constituted 1.8% of burden of eye disease. This
could be age-dependent. Furthermore, poor
nutrition following poor crop yield owing to the
fact that the lands have been taken over by oil
spillage could account for it. In addition to
maculopathy, corneal dryness and subsequent
ulceration could also arise from poor nutrition
especially when they eat food deficient in vitamin
A, C and E following poor crop yield.
All these could be prevented with prompt
environmental clean-up. However while the
community awaits comprehensive clean up,
some measures of ocular protection could be
provided. For instance, the Fire Safety and
Environmental Protection Department (FSEPD)
of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company
ensures safety of their workers by ensuring that
protective gadgets are provided and worn by
them but unfortunately this does not cover the
members of the community and thus leaves their
eyes exposed to various irritant chemicals and
dust particles.
The presence of illegal oil refining activities have
not helped either and the environmental
population associated with these activities are
enormous [14].
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDA-
TION
Ocular anterior segment disorders are prevalent
in communities affected by oil spillage and could
be due to exposure to petroleum-related
chemical irritants. To prevent chronic exposure to
these irritants, there should be prompt
environmental clean-up in event of oil spillage.
Temporary ocular protective measures should
also be made available while preparation for
clean-up is being made to minimize ocular
injuries.
CONSENT
It is not applicable.
ETHICAL APPROVAL
As per international standard written ethical
approval has been collected and preserved by
the author(s).
COMPETING INTERESTS
Authors have declared that no competing
interests exist.
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_________________________________________________________________________________
© 2019 Awoyesuku et al.; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Peer-review history:
The peer review history for this paper can be accessed here:
http://www.sdiarticle4.com/review-history/53290
... This is surprising as riverine communities experience more rainfall annually with fewer periods of dryness compared to the upland communities and it is expected that pollens and other allergens are washed away. A possible reason could be due to petroleum-related pollution in the air from illegal refining activities [10,11,12]. Most studies carried out in the state have reported a high incidence of allergic conjunctivitis with a tendency to a higher prevalence in the Upland communities [5,6,11,12]. ...
... A possible reason could be due to petroleum-related pollution in the air from illegal refining activities [10,11,12]. Most studies carried out in the state have reported a high incidence of allergic conjunctivitis with a tendency to a higher prevalence in the Upland communities [5,6,11,12]. However a study carried out among school students in a Riverine community in the same state reported a low prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis [13]. ...
... Those who were suspected of having glaucoma and those who had established glaucoma were found to be more in the Riverine community. This is in contrast to Omoni's series where glaucoma was not found to be a significant cause of ocular morbidity and also contrary to studies done in upland communities in the same state where glaucoma was reported to rank highly in the causes of visual impairment and blindness [12,13]. Wide scale community-based studies are needed to unmask this association. ...
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Aims/Objective: A community- based cross-section all comparative study was carried out to compare the pattern of ocular morbidity between residents in upland and riverine communities in Rivers State. Methods: The sample size was calculated using the formula for comparative studies, based on alpha of 0.05, beta of 0.20, the proportion of eye disorder of 40.4% from a community-based study in Rivers State. A minimum sample size of 84 per group was attained. Data on age, sex, visual acuity, cup-disc ratio, intra-ocular diagnosis were obtained using an interviewer-based pro forma. Collected data were entered into Microsoft Excel and exported to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epi Info version 7 software for statistical analysis. The Pearson's Chi square/Fisher's exact tests were used as appropriate to determine significant differences in demographic and eye examination findings between the two groups (riverine versus upland) while Chi-square homogeneity was performed to determine significant differences in the individual ocular diagnosis across the groups. Statistical significance was set at P ≤ 0.05. Results: A total of eighty-six (86) participants per group were involved in the study, making a total of one hundred and seventy-two participants. The mean age was 37.9 (±18.1) and age range of 1-90 years. Males comprised 30.2% of the sample population while females were 69.8%. The commonest causes of ocular morbidity in both communities were Refractive error. Allergic conjunctivitis and cataract were more common in the Riverine community compared to the upland one. Conclusion: Our study shows that the pattern of ocular morbidity may differ based on land surfaces. Ocular morbidity appears to be more prevalent in Riverine areas than upland. Government interventions and eye care service providers should take cognizance of this while planning intervention programs at the State and National levels.
... Possible causes of oil spills in Nigeria according to [14] and [15] Nwachukwu and his colleagues (2014) on water quality of Abacheke community of Imo State of Nigeria. Also discovered is that ocular anterior segment disorders are prevalent in communities affected by oil spillage and could be due to exposure to petroleum-related chemical irritants [16]. ...
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Over 178 billion liters of oil had been lost to the environment over the past 120 years, majorly as a result of improper handling, sabotage and accidents. Estimated cost of this lost is 81 billion US dollars. From the highest, locations most impacted by the spills are Kuwait, United States, Persian Gulf, Mexico and Nigeria. The effect is felt as a whole by living organisms (birds, livestock, plants, soil microorganisms , fish, intertidal fauna, dwarf seahorse, humans etc) and their habitats. This paper investigates, clean up techniques like boom, skimmers, berms, dispersants, in-situ burning, sorbents, bioremediation and high-pressure hosing, noting that none of these is effective and search has to continue towards finding a more effective clean up approach. It can be concluded that the best way to tackle the menace of oil spillage is prevention.
... Cataract (2.9%) did not feature a lot in our study which is an advantage of the semi-urban setting with proximity to professional eye care services while allergic conjunctivitis (77.9%) featured prominently. Recent studies in the South-south have shown that allergic conjuntivitis plays a major role in ocular mobidity in our area [19,20]. This is thought to be linked to environmental pollution mostly from hydrocarbon products. ...
... Cataract (2.9%) did not feature a lot in our study which is an advantage of the semi-urban setting with proximity to professional eye care services while allergic conjunctivitis (77.9%) featured prominently. Recent studies in the South-south have shown that allergic conjuntivitis plays a major role in ocular mobidity in our area [19,20]. This is thought to be linked to environmental pollution mostly from hydrocarbon products. ...
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Managing the public health impacts of natural resource extraction activities. Geneva: World Healt Organization (WHO)
  • M Pfeiffer
  • F Viliani
  • C Dora
Pfeiffer M, Viliani F, Dora C. Managing the public health impacts of natural resource extraction activities. Geneva: World Healt Organization (WHO); 2010.
The adverse health effects of oil spills: A review of the
  • B S Levy
  • W J Nasseta
Levy BS, Nasseta WJ. The adverse health effects of oil spills: A review of the