Risk factors for maternal night blindness in rural South India

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Ophthalmic Epidemiology








India; Night blindness; Pregnancy; Vitamin A deficiency; Xerophthalmia


Purpose: This study aimed to identify risk factors associated with maternal night blindness in rural South India. Methods: At delivery, women enrolled in a population-based trial of newborn vitamin A supplementation were asked whether they were night blind at any time during the pregnancy. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify socioeconomic, demographic, and pregnancy-related factors associated with maternal night blindness. Results: Women reported night blindness in 687 (5.2%) of 13,171 pregnancies. In a multivariate model, having a concrete roof (Odds Ratio (OR): 0.60, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.47, 0.78), religion other than Hindu (OR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.27, 0.76), maternal literacy (OR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.69), and maternal age from 25 to 29 years (OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.50, 0.93) were associated with a lower risk of night blindness in pregnancy. The odds of night blindness were higher for those leasing rather than owning land (OR: 1.78, 95%CI: 1.08, 2.93), parity 6 or more compared to 0 (OR: 2.11, 95% CI: 1.09, 4.08), and with twin pregnancies (OR: 3.23, 95% CI: 1.93, 5.41). Factors not associated with night blindness in the multivariate model were other markers of socioeconomic status such as electricity in the house, radio and television ownership, type of cooking fuel and household transportation, and number of children under 5 years of age in the household. Conclusions: Maternal night blindness was prevalent in this population. Being pregnant with twins and of higher parity put women at higher risk. Maternal literacy and higher socioeconomic status lowered the risk.