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.
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