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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 963-968

Facilitating factors in overcoming barriers to cataract surgical services among the bilaterally cataract blind in Southern India: A cross-sectional study


Department of Ophthalmology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Smitha Jasper
Department of Ophthalmology, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 001, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_216_18

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Purpose: To effectively address cataract blindness, increasing sight-restoring surgeries among the bilaterally blind are essential. To improve uptake of surgical services among this group, evidence regarding the problems of access is vital. Barriers in accessing eye care services have previously been reported but not specific to bilaterally cataract blind patients. Further, there is a gap in knowledge regarding factors facilitating access to eye care. Our aims were to (1) report proportion of bilaterally cataract blind patients undergoing surgery and sight restoration rate (SRR) and (2) analyze barriers and factors enabling access to eye care services among bilaterally cataract blind patients. Methods: Retrospective analysis of interview and clinical data of bilaterally cataract blind patients undergoing surgery through outreach services at the base hospital, from June 2015 to May 2016, was performed. Demographic data, vision, postoperative visual outcomes, barriers, and facilitating factors in accessing cataract surgical services were obtained. Results: Bilateral cataract blindness was present in 196/3178 (6.2%, 95% confidence interval 5.4–7.06) patients. SRR was 6.5%. Fear of surgery (24.2%) and lack of family support/escort (22.9%) were the most common barriers. Neighbors and acquaintances (28.6%), general health workers (20.2%), and persons who had undergone cataract surgery (19.6%) were the most common facilitating factors. Conclusion: Proportion of bilaterally cataract blind people undergoing surgery and consequently SRR were low. The most common barriers were at the individual level while facilitating factors at the community level were instrumental in promoting uptake of services. Interventions involving community-based support for the blind may be useful in overcoming barriers to eye care.


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