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  Citation statistics : Table of Contents
   2012| September-October  | Volume 60 | Issue 5  
    Online since September 4, 2012

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The worldwide epidemic of diabetic retinopathy
Yingfeng Zheng, Mingguang He, Nathan Congdon
September-October 2012, 60(5):428-431
Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a major microvascular complication of diabetes, has a significant impact on the world's health systems. Globally, the number of people with DR will grow from 126.6 million in 2010 to 191.0 million by 2030, and we estimate that the number with vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (VTDR) will increase from 37.3 million to 56.3 million, if prompt action is not taken. Despite growing evidence documenting the effectiveness of routine DR screening and early treatment, DR frequently leads to poor visual functioning and represents the leading cause of blindness in working-age populations. DR has been neglected in health-care research and planning in many low-income countries, where access to trained eye-care professionals and tertiary eye-care services may be inadequate. Demand for, as well as, supply of services may be a problem. Rates of compliance with diabetes medications and annual eye examinations may be low, the reasons for which are multifactorial. Innovative and comprehensive approaches are needed to reduce the risk of vision loss by prompt diagnosis and early treatment of VTDR.
  13 9,189 850
Turning the tide of corneal blindness
Matthew S Oliva, Tim Schottman, Manoj Gulati
September-October 2012, 60(5):423-427
Corneal diseases represent the second leading cause of blindness in most developing world countries. Worldwide, major investments in public health infrastructure and primary eye care services have built a strong foundation for preventing future corneal blindness. However, there are an estimated 4.9 million bilaterally corneal blind persons worldwide who could potentially have their sight restored through corneal transplantation. Traditionally, barriers to increased corneal transplantation have been daunting, with limited tissue availability and lack of trained corneal surgeons making widespread keratoplasty services cost prohibitive and logistically unfeasible. The ascendancy of cataract surgical rates and more robust eye care infrastructure of several Asian and African countries now provide a solid base from which to dramatically expand corneal transplantation rates. India emerges as a clear global priority as it has the world's largest corneal blind population and strong infrastructural readiness to rapidly scale its keratoplasty numbers. Technological modernization of the eye bank infrastructure must follow suit. Two key factors are the development of professional eye bank managers and the establishment of Hospital Cornea Recovery Programs. Recent adaptation of these modern eye banking models in India have led to corresponding high growth rates in the procurement of transplantable tissues, improved utilization rates, operating efficiency realization, and increased financial sustainability. The widespread adaptation of lamellar keratoplasty techniques also holds promise to improve corneal transplant success rates. The global ophthalmic community is now poised to scale up widespread access to corneal transplantation to meet the needs of the millions who are currently blind.
  11 6,928 594
Glaucoma in developing countries
Ravi Thomas
September-October 2012, 60(5):446-450
Objective: To describe the background and strategy required for the prevention of blindness from glaucoma in developing countries. Materials and Methods: Extrapolation of existing data and experience in eye care delivery and teaching models in an unequally developed country (India) are used to make recommendations. Results: Parameters like population attributable risk percentage indicate that glaucoma is a public health problem but lack of simple diagnostic techniques and therapeutic interventions are barriers to any effective plan. Case detection rather than population-based screening is the recommended strategy for detection. Population awareness of the disease is low and most patients attending eye clinics do not receive a routine comprehensive eye examination that is required to detect glaucoma (and other potentially blinding eye diseases). Such a routine is not taught or practiced by the majority of training institutions either. Angle closure can be detected clinically and relatively simple interventions (including well performed cataract surgery) can prevent blindness from this condition. The strategy for open angle glaucoma should focus on those with established functional loss. Outcomes of this proposed strategy are not yet available. Conclusions: Glaucoma cannot be managed in isolation. The objective should be to detect and manage all potential causes of blindness and prevention of blindness from glaucoma should be integrated into existing programs. The original pyramidal model of eye care delivery incorporates this principle and provides an initial starting point. The routine of comprehensive eye examination in every clinic and its teaching (and use) in residency programs is mandatory for the detection and management of potentially preventable blinding pathology from any cause, including glaucoma. Programs for detection of glaucoma should not be initiated unless adequate facilities for diagnosis and surgical intervention are in place and their monitoring requires reporting of functional outcomes rather than number of operations performed.
  8 4,423 509
Social inequalities in blindness and visual impairment: A review of social determinants
Anna Rius, Van C Lansingh, Laura Guisasola Valencia, Marissa J Carter, Kristen A Eckert
September-October 2012, 60(5):368-375
DOI:10.4103/0301-4738.100529  PMID:22944744
Health inequities are related to social determinants based on gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, living in a specific geographic region, or having a specific health condition. Such inequities were reviewed for blindness and visual impairment by searching for studies on the subject in PubMed from 2000 to 2011 in the English and Spanish languages. The goal of this article is to provide a current review in understanding how inequities based specifically on the aforementioned social determinants on health influence the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness. With regards to gender inequality, women have a higher prevalence of visual impairment and blindness, which cannot be only reasoned based on age or access to service. Socioeconomic status measured as higher income, higher educational status, or non-manual occupational social class was inversely associated with prevalence of blindness or visual impairment. Ethnicity and race were associated with visual impairment and blindness, although there is general confusion over this socioeconomic position determinant. Geographic inequalities and visual impairment were related to income (of the region, nation or continent), living in a rural area, and an association with socioeconomic and political context was suggested. While inequalities related to blindness and visual impairment have rarely been specifically addressed in research, there is still evidence of the association of social determinants and prevalence of blindness and visual impairment. Additional research should be done on the associations with intermediary determinants and socioeconomic and political context.
  8 6,098 504
Future trends in global blindness
Serge Resnikoff, Tricia U Keys
September-October 2012, 60(5):387-395
The objective of this review is to discuss the available data on the prevalence and causes of global blindness, and some of the associated trends and limitations seen. A literature search was conducted using the terms "global AND blindness" and "global AND vision AND impairment", resulting in seven appropriate articles for this review. Since 1990 the estimate of global prevalence of blindness has gradually decreased when considering the best corrected visual acuity definition: 0.71% in 1990, 0.59% in 2002, and 0.55% in 2010, corresponding to a 0.73% reduction per year over the 2002-2010 period. Significant limitations were found in the comparability between the global estimates in prevalence or causes of blindness or visual impairment. These limitations arise from various factors such as uncertainties about the true cause of the impairment, the use of different definitions and methods, and the absence of data from a number of geographical areas, leading to various extrapolation methods, which in turn seriously limit comparability. Seminal to this discussion on limitations in the comparability of studies and data, is that blindness has historically been defined using best corrected visual acuity.
  7 6,236 431
Changing trends in the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in a rural district of India: Systematic observations over a decade
Rohit C Khanna, Srinivas Marmamula, Sannapaneni Krishnaiah, Pyda Giridhar, Subhabrata Chakrabarti, Gullapalli N Rao
September-October 2012, 60(5):492-497
Context : Globally, limited data are available on changing trends of blindness from a single region. Aims : To report the changing trends in the prevalence of blindness, visual impairment (VI), and visual outcomes of cataract surgery in a rural district of Andhra Pradesh, India, over period of one decade. Settings and Design : Rural setting; cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods : Using a validated Rapid Assessment of Cataract Surgical Services (RACSS) method, population-based, cross-sectional survey was done in a rural district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Two-stage sampling procedure was used to select participants ≥50 years of age. Further, a comparative analysis was done with participants ≥50 years from the previously concluded Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) study, who belonged to the same district. Statistical Analysis : Done using 11 th version of Stata. Results : Using RACSS, 2160/2300 (93.9%) participants were examined as compared with the APEDS dataset (n=521). Age and sex adjusted prevalence of blindness in RACSS and APEDS was 8% (95% CI, 6.9-9.1%) and 11% (95% CI, 8.3-13.7%), while that of VI was 13.6% (95% CI, 12.2-15.1%) and 40.3% (95% CI, 36.1-44.5%), respectively. Cataract was the major cause of blindness in both the studies. There was a significant reduction in blindness following cataract surgery as observed through RACSS (17.3%; 95% CI, 13.5-21.8%) compared with APEDS (34%; 95% CI, 20.9-49.3%). Conclusion : There was a significant reduction in prevalence of blindness and VI in this rural district of India over a decade.
  5 4,500 369
Integrated model of primary and secondary eye care for underserved rural areas: The L V Prasad Eye Institute experience
Gullapalli N Rao, Rohit C Khanna, Sashi Mohan Athota, Varda Rajshekar, Padmaja Kumari Rani
September-October 2012, 60(5):396-400
Blindness is a major global public health problem and recent estimates from World Health Organization (WHO) showed that in India there were 62 million visually impaired, of whom 8 million are blind. The Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) provided a comprehensive estimate for prevalence and causes of blindness for the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP). It also highlighted that uptake of services was also an issue, predominantly among lower socio-economic groups, women, and rural populations. On the basis of this analysis, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) developed a pyramidal model of eye care delivery. This article describes the LVPEI eye care delivery model. The article discusses infrastructure development, human resource development, and service delivery (including prevention and promotion) in the context of primary and secondary care service delivery in rural areas. The article also alludes to opportunities for research at these levels of service delivery and the amenability of the evidence generated at these levels of the LVPEI eye health pyramid for advocacy and policy planning. In addition, management issues related to the sustainability of service delivery in rural areas are discussed. The article highlights the key factors required for the success of the LVPEI rural service delivery model and discusses challenges that need to be overcome to replicate the model. The article concludes by noting the potential to convert these challenges into opportunities by integrating certain aspects of the existing healthcare system into the model. Examples include screening of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in order to promote higher community participation. The results of such integration can serve as evidence for advocacy and policy.
  5 7,007 519
The accomplishments of the global initiative VISION 2020: The Right to Sight and the focus for the next 8 years of the campaign
Peter Ackland
September-October 2012, 60(5):380-386
In the first 12 years of VISION 2020 sound programmatic approaches have been developed that are capable of delivering equitable eye health services to even the most remote and impoverished communities. A body of evidence around the economic arguments for investment in eye health has been developed that has fuelled successful advocacy work resulting in supportive high level policy statements. More than a 100 national plans to achieve the elimination of avoidable blindness have been developed and some notable contributions made from the corporate and government sectors to resource eye health programs. Good progress has been made to control infectious blinding diseases and at the very least there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the global increase in the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment has been reversed in recent years, despite the ever increasing and more elderly global population. However if we are to achieve the goal of VISION 2020 we require a considerable scaling up of current efforts-this will depend on our future success in two key areas: i) Successful advocacy and engagement at individual country level to secure significantly enhanced national government commitment to financing their own VISION 2020 plans.ii) A new approach to VISION 2020 thinking that integrates eye health into health system development and develops new partnerships with wider health development initiatives.
  5 6,000 415
Uncorrected refractive errors
Kovin S Naidoo, Jyoti Jaggernath
September-October 2012, 60(5):432-437
Global estimates indicate that more than 2.3 billion people in the world suffer from poor vision due to refractive error; of which 670 million people are considered visually impaired because they do not have access to corrective treatment. Refractive errors, if uncorrected, results in an impaired quality of life for millions of people worldwide, irrespective of their age, sex and ethnicity. Over the past decade, a series of studies using a survey methodology, referred to as Refractive Error Study in Children (RESC), were performed in populations with different ethnic origins and cultural settings. These studies confirmed that the prevalence of uncorrected refractive errors is considerably high for children in low-and-middle-income countries. Furthermore, uncorrected refractive error has been noted to have extensive social and economic impacts, such as limiting educational and employment opportunities of economically active persons, healthy individuals and communities. The key public health challenges presented by uncorrected refractive errors, the leading cause of vision impairment across the world, require urgent attention. To address these issues, it is critical to focus on the development of human resources and sustainable methods of service delivery. This paper discusses three core pillars to addressing the challenges posed by uncorrected refractive errors: Human Resource (HR) Development, Service Development and Social Entrepreneurship.
  4 6,462 717
Elimination of avoidable blindness due to cataract: Where do we prioritize and how should we monitor this decade?
Gudlavalleti VS Murthy, Neena John, Bindiganavale R Shamanna, Hira B Pant
September-October 2012, 60(5):438-445
Background: In the final push toward the elimination of avoidable blindness, cataract occupies a position of eminence for the success of the Right to Sight initiative. Aims: Review existing situation and assess what monitoring indicators may be useful to chart progress towards attaining the goals of Vision 2020. Settings and Design: Review of published papers from low and middle income countries since 2000. Materials and Methods: Published population-based data on prevalence of cataract blindness/visual impairment were accessed and prevalence of cataract blindness/visual impairment computed, where not reported. Data on prevalence of cataract blindness, cataract surgical coverage at different visual acuity cut offs, surgical outcomes, and prevalence of cataract surgery were analyzed. Scatter plots were used to look at relationships of some variables, with Human Development Index (HDI) rank. Available data on Cataract Surgical Rate (CSR) was plotted against prevalence of cataract surgery reported from surveys. Results: Worse HDI Ranks were associated with higher prevalence of cataract blindness. Most studies showed that a significant proportion of the blind were covered by surgery, while a fifth showed that a significant proportion, were operated before they went blind. A good visual outcome after surgery was positively correlated with higher surgical coverage. CSR was positively correlated with cataract surgical coverage. Conclusions: Cataract surgical coverage is increasing in most countries at vision <3/60 and visual outcomes after cataract surgery are improving. Establishing population-based surveillance of cataract surgical need and performance is a strong monitoring tool and will help program planners immensely.
  4 5,745 428
Rapid assessment methods in eye care: An overview
Srinivas Marmamula, Jill E Keeffe, Gullapalli N Rao
September-October 2012, 60(5):416-422
Reliable information is required for the planning and management of eye care services. While classical research methods provide reliable estimates, they are prohibitively expensive and resource intensive. Rapid assessment (RA) methods are indispensable tools in situations where data are needed quickly and where time- or cost-related factors prohibit the use of classical epidemiological surveys. These methods have been developed and field tested, and can be applied across almost the entire gamut of health care. The 1990s witnessed the emergence of RA methods in eye care for cataract, onchocerciasis, and trachoma and, more recently, the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The important features of RA methods include the use of local resources, simplified sampling methodology, and a simple examination protocol/data collection method that can be performed by locally available personnel. The analysis is quick and easy to interpret. The entire process is inexpensive, so the survey may be repeated once every 5-10 years to assess the changing trends in disease burden. RA survey methods are typically linked with an intervention. This article provides an overview of the RA methods commonly used in eye care, and emphasizes the selection of appropriate methods based on the local need and context.
  4 4,671 504
The challenges in improving outcome of cataract surgery in low and middle income countries
Robert Lindfield, Kalluru Vishwanath, Faustin Ngounou, Rohit C Khanna
September-October 2012, 60(5):464-469
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness globally and surgery is the only known measure to deal with it effectively. Providing high quality cataract surgical services is critical if patients with cataract are to have their sight restored. A key focus of surgery is the outcome of the procedure. In cataract surgery this is measured predominantly, using visual acuity. Population- and hospital-based studies have revealed that the visual outcome of cataract surgery in many low and middle income settings is frequently sub-optimal, often failing to reach the recommended standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Another way of measuring outcome of cataract surgery is to ask patients for their views on whether surgery has changed the functioning of their eyes and their quality of life. There are different tools available to capture patient views and now, these patient-reported outcomes are becoming more widely used. This paper discusses the visual outcome of cataract surgery and frames the outcome of surgery within the context of the surgical service, suggesting that the process and outcome of care cannot be separated. It also discusses the components of patient-reported outcome tools and describes some available tools in more detail. Finally, it describes a hierarchy of challenges that need to be addressed before a high quality cataract surgical service can be achieved.
  3 4,758 326
Applying principles of health system strengthening to eye care
Karl Blanchet, Daksha Patel
September-October 2012, 60(5):470-474
Understanding Health systems have now become the priority focus of researchers and policy makers, who have progressively moved away from a project-centred perspectives. The new tendency is to facilitate a convergence between health system developers and disease-specific programme managers in terms of both thinking and action, and to reconcile both approaches: one focusing on integrated health systems and improving the health status of the population and the other aiming at improving access to health care. Eye care interventions particularly in developing countries have generally been vertically implemented (e.g. trachoma, cataract surgeries) often with parallel organizational structures or specialised disease specific services. With the emergence of health system strengthening in health strategies and in the service delivery of interventions there is a need to clarify and examine inputs in terms governance, financing and management. This present paper aims to clarify key concepts in health system strengthening and describe the various components of the framework as applied in eye care interventions.
  3 4,380 300
The global cost of eliminating avoidable blindness
Kirsten L Armstrong, Martin Jovic, Jennifer L Vo-Phuoc, Jeremy G Thorpe, Brian L Doolan
September-October 2012, 60(5):475-480
Aims : To complete an initial estimate of the global cost of eliminating avoidable blindness, including the investment required to build ongoing primary and secondary health care systems, as well as to eliminate the 'backlog' of avoidable blindness. This analysis also seeks to understand and articulate where key data limitations lie. Materials and Methods : Data were collected in line with a global estimation approach, including separate costing frameworks for the primary and secondary care sectors, and the treatment of backlog. Results : The global direct health cost to eliminate avoidable blindness over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2020 is estimated at $632 billion per year (2009 US$). As countries already spend $592 billion per annum on eye health, this represents additional investment of $397.8 billion over 10 years, which is $40 billion per year or $5.80 per person for each year between 2010 and 2020. This is concentrated in high-income nations, which require 68% of the investment but comprise 16% of the world's inhabitants. For all other regions, the additional investment required is $127 billion. Conclusions : This costing estimate has identified that low- and middle-income countries require less than half the additional investment compared with high-income nations. Low- and middle-income countries comprise the greater investment proportion in secondary care whereas high-income countries require the majority of investment into the primary sector. However, there is a need to improve sector data. Investment in better data will have positive flow-on effects for the eye health sector.
  3 4,128 308
Key factors determining success of primary eye care through vision centres in rural India: Patients' perspectives
Vilas Kovai, Gullapalli N Rao, Brien Holden
September-October 2012, 60(5):487-491
Aim : This paper intends to discuss the patients' perspective on the determinants of primary eye care services from vision centers (VC) in rural India. Materials and Methods : A retrospective study design and interview method was used on 127 randomly selected patients who accessed the 4 VCs in 2007. Factor analyses and linear regression models were used to predict the associations with patient satisfaction. Results : The three factors derived from factor analyses were: (1)-vision technician (VT), (2)-location of VC, and (3)-access to VC; explaining 60% of the variance in total patients' satisfaction with VC. The first model (R2 : 0.61; F 1,124=144.36, P <0.001), indicated that respondents who had 'difficulty to travel to the place of VC' and those who can afford to pay had less satisfaction with VT services. The second model (R2 =0.18; F 1,124=29.5, P <0.001) explained that respondents' difficulty to identify the building of VC had decreased patients' satisfaction and the third model (R2 =0.36; F 1,124=45.6, P <0.001) indicated that those who had to travel<5 km to the VC and had 0.38 units of increased satisfaction level with the services of VC. Conclusion : A good VT can enhance patient satisfaction. However, patient expectations are not only confined to the provider but also other factors such as ability to pay and convenient transportation that helps patients reach the location of the VC with ease.
  3 3,874 268
The role of optometrists in India: An integral part of an eye health team
Neilsen De Souza, Yu Cui, Stephanie Looi, Prakash Paudel, Lakshmi Shinde, Krishna Kumar, Rajbir Berwal, Rajesh Wadhwa, Vinod Daniel, Judith Flanagan, Brien Holden
September-October 2012, 60(5):401-405
India has a proud tradition of blindness prevention, being the first country in the world to implement a blindness control programme which focused on a model to address blinding eye disease. However, with 133 million people blind or vision impaired due to the lack of an eye examination and provision of an appropriate pair of spectacles, it is imperative to establish a cadre of eye care professionals to work in conjunction with ophthalmologists to deliver comprehensive eye care. The integration of highly educated four year trained optometrists into primary health services is a practical means of correcting refractive error and detecting ocular disease, enabling co-managed care between ophthalmologists and optometrists. At present, the training of optometrists varies from two year trained ophthalmic assistants/optometrists or refractionists to four year degree trained optometrists. The profession of optometry in India is not regulated, integrated into the health care system or recognised by the majority of people in India as provider of comprehensive eye care services. In the last two years, the profession of optometry in India is beginning to take the necessary steps to gain recognition and regulation to become an independent primary health care profession. The formation of the Indian Optometry Federation as the single peak body of optometry in India and the soon to be established Optometry Council of India are key organisations working towards the development and regulation of optometry.
  3 15,641 833
Eye conditions and blindness in children: Priorities for research, programs, and policy with a focus on childhood cataract
Clare Gilbert, Mohammed Muhit
September-October 2012, 60(5):451-455
The major causes of blindness in children encompass intrauterine and acquired infectious diseases, teratogens and developmental and molecular genetics, nutritional factors, the consequences of preterm birth, and tumors. A multidisciplinary approach is therefore needed. In terms of the major avoidable causes (i.e., those that can be prevented or treated) the available evidence shows that these vary in importance from country to country, as well as over time. This is because the underlying causes closely reflect socioeconomic development and the social determinants of health, as well as the provision of preventive and therapeutic programs and services from the community through to tertiary levels of care. The control of blindness in children therefore requires not only strategies that reflect the local epidemiology and the needs and priorities of communities, but also a well functioning, accessible health system which operates within an enabling and conducive policy environment. In this article we use cataract in children as an example and make the case for health financing systems that do not lead to 'catastrophic health expenditure' for affected families, and the integration of eye health for children into those elements of the health system that work closely with mothers and their children.
  2 3,831 387
Critical issues in implementing low vision care in the Asia-Pacific region
Peggy Pei-Chia Chiang, Manjula Marella, Gail Ormsby, Jill Keeffe
September-October 2012, 60(5):456-459
Two-thirds of the world's population with low vision resides in the Asia-Pacific region. Provision of comprehensive low vision services is important to improve vision-related quality of life (QoL) for people with this condition. This review outlines the critical issues and challenges facing the provision of low vision services in the Asia-Pacific region. The review offers possible strategies to tackle these issues and challenges facing service providers and policy makers in lieu of Vision 2020 strategies in this area. Pertinent findings from the global survey of low vision services and extensive ground work conducted in the region are used; in addition, a discussion on the availability of services, human resources and training, and funding and the future sustainability of low vision care will be covered. In summary, current issues and challenges facing the region are the lack of specific evidence-based data, access, appropriate equipment and facilities, human resources, funding, and sustainability. These issues are inextricably interlinked and thus cannot be addressed in isolation. The solutions proposed cover all areas of the VISION 2020 strategy that include service delivery, human resources, infrastructure and equipment, advocacy and partnership; and include provision of comprehensive care via vertical and horizontal integration; strengthening primary level care in the community; providing formal and informal training to enable task shifting and capacity building; and promoting strong government and private sector partnership to achieve long-term service financial sustainability.
  2 3,350 247
What the comprehensive economics of blindness and visual impairment can help us understand
Kevin D Frick
September-October 2012, 60(5):406-410
Since the year 2000, the amount written about the economics of blindness and visual impairment has increased substantially. In some cases, the studies listed under this heading are calculations of the costs related to vision impairment and blindness at a national or global level; in other cases the studies examine the cost-effectiveness of strategies to prevent or modify visual impairment or blindness that are intended to be applied as a guide to treatment recommendations and coverage decisions. In each case the references are just examples of many that could be cited. These important studies have helped advocates, policy makers, practitioners, educators, and others interested in eye and vision health to understand the magnitude of the impact that visual impairment and blindness have on the world, regions, nations, and individuals and the tradeoffs that need to be made to limit the impact. However, these studies only begin to tap into the insights that economic logic might offer to those interested in this field. This paper presents multiple case studies that demonstrate that the economics of blindness and visual impairment encompasses much more than simply measures of the burden of the condition. Case studies demonstrating the usefulness of economic insight include analysis of the prevention of conditions that lead to impairment, decisions about refractive error and presbyopia, decisions about disease and injury treatment, decisions about behavior among those with uncorrectable impairment, and decisions about how to regulate the market all have important economic inputs.
  2 3,435 268
Best practice eye care models
Babar M Qureshi, Rabiu Mansur, Abdulaziz Al-Rajhi, Van Lansingh, Kristen Eckert, Kunle Hassan, Thulasiraj Ravilla, Mohammad Muhit, Rohit C Khanna, Chaudhry Ismat
September-October 2012, 60(5):351-357
Since the launching of Global Initiative, VISION 2020 "the Right to Sight" many innovative, practical and unique comprehensive eye care services provision models have evolved targeting the underserved populations in different parts of the World. At places the rapid assessment of the burden of eye diseases in confined areas or utilizing the key informants for identification of eye diseases in the communities are promoted for better planning and evidence based advocacy for getting / allocation of resources for eye care. Similarly for detection and management of diabetes related blindness, retinopathy of prematurity and avoidable blindness at primary level, the major obstacles are confronted in reaching to them in a cost effective manner and then management of the identified patients accordingly. In this regard, the concept of tele-ophthalmology model sounds to be the best solution. Whereas other models on comprehensive eye care services provision have been emphasizing on surgical output through innovative scales of economy that generate income for the program and ensure its sustainability, while guaranteeing treatment of the poorest of the poor.
  2 5,170 476
Causes, epidemiology, and long-term outcome of traumatic cataracts in children in rural India
Parikshit Gogate, Mohini Sahasrabudhe, Mitali Shah, Shailbala Patil, Anil Kulkarni
September-October 2012, 60(5):481-486
Purpose : To describe preoperative factors, long-term (>3 years) postoperative outcome and cost of traumatic cataracts in children in predominantly rural districts of western India. Subjects : Eighty-two traumatic cataracts in 81 children in a pediatric ophthalmology department of a tertiary eye-care center. Materials and Methods : Traumatic cataracts operated in 2004-2008 were reexamined prospectively in 2010-2011 using standardized technique. Cause and type of trauma, demographic factors, surgical intervention, complications, and visual acuity was recorded. Statistical Analysis : Data analysis done by using SPSS (Statistical package for social sciences) version 17.0 We have used Chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, paired t-test to find the association between the final vision and various parameters at 5% level of significance; binary logistic regression was performed for visual outcome ≥6/18 and ≥6/60. Results : The children were examined in a 3-7 year follow-up (4.35 ± 1.54). Average age at time of surgery was 10.4 ± 4.43 years (1.03 to 18). Fifty (61.7%) were boys. Forty (48.8%) were blunt and 32 (39%) were sharp trauma. The most common cause was wooden stick 23 (28.0%) and sharp thorn 14 (17.1%). Delay between trauma and presentation to hospital ranged from same day to 12 years after the injury with median of 4 days. The mean preoperative visual acuity by decimal notation was 0.059 ± 0.073 and mean postoperative visual acuity was 0.483 ± 0.417 (P < 0.001). Thirty-eight (46.3%) had best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) ≥6/18 and 51 (62.2%) had BCVA ≥ 6/60. In univariable analysis, visual outcome (≥6/18) depended on type of surgery (P = 0.002), gender (P = 0.028), and type of injury (P = 0.07)-sharp trauma and open globe injury had poorer outcomes; but not on age of child, preoperative vision, and type of surgeon. On multivariable binary logistic regression, only gender was significant variable. Of the 82 eyes, 18 (22%) needed more than one surgery. The parents spent an average of Rs. 2250 ($45) for the surgery and 55 (66.4%) were from lower socio-economic class. Conclusion : The postoperative visual outcomes varied and less than half achieved ≥ 6/18.
  1 5,777 593
The economic burden of blindness in Pakistan: A socio-economic and policy imperative for poverty reduction strategies
Haroon Awan, Sadia Mariam Malik, Niaz Ullah Khan
September-October 2012, 60(5):358-364
State and nonstate health programs in developing countries are often influenced by priorities that are defined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the wake of recessionary pressures, policy makers in the health sector are often seen to divert significant budgets to some specific health programs and make only token allocations for other health problems that are important but do not fall under the traditional MDG box of health priorities. This paper illustrates the economic argument for investment in one such program: The eye health program and employs a country case study of Pakistan to demonstrate that there are significant economic gains that are being foregone by not addressing the needs of the blind in poverty reduction strategies. By applying appropriate growth and discounting factors and using the average wage rate, the paper estimates the total productivity gains that are realizable over a period of 10 years if the blind population in Pakistan is rehabilitated and their carers released to participate in the mainstream economic activity. Our findings indicate that significant productivity gains accumulated over 10 years, range from Rs. 61 billion (US$ 709 million) to Rs. 421 billion (US$ 4.9 billion) depending upon whether the entire blind population or only those affected by a specific cause are rehabilitated. The per annum productivity gains of rehabilitating the entire blind population represents 0.74% of the current gross domestic product of Pakistan, which is higher than the total public spending on health. In order to reap these benefits, the subsequent absorption of the rehabilitated blind and their carers into mainstream economic activity is as important as their effective rehabilitation.
  1 3,485 254
Vision-related research priorities and how to finance them
Catherine A McCarty
September-October 2012, 60(5):460-463
A number of organizations have employed a consultative process with the vision community to engage relevant parties in identifying needs and opportunities for vision research. The National Eye Institute in the US and the European Commission are currently undergoing consultation to develop priorities for vision research. Once these priorities have been established, the challenge will be to identify the resources to advance these research agendas. Success rates for Federal funding for research have decreased recently in the USA, UK, and Australia. Researchers should consider various potential funding sources for their research. The universal consideration for funding is that the reason for funding should align with the mission of the funding organization. In addition to Federal research organizations that fund investigator-initiated research, other potential funding sources include nongovernmental organizations, for-profit companies, individual philanthropy, and service organizations. In addition to aligning with organizational funding priorities, researchers need to consider turn-around time and total funds available including whether an organization will cover institutional indirect costs. Websites are useful tools to find information about organizations that fund research, including grant deadlines. Collaboration is encouraged.
  - 3,149 192
Milestones in blindness prevention in India
S Natarajan
September-October 2012, 60(5):347-348
  - 4,172 381
A model initiative
Alfred Sommer
September-October 2012, 60(5):349-350
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Introduction to Special Issue
Santosh G Honavar
September-October 2012, 60(5):345-346
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Advocacy for eye care
Thulasiraj D Ravilla, Dhivya Ramasamy
September-October 2012, 60(5):376-379
The effectiveness of eye care service delivery is often dependant on how the different stakeholders are aligned. These stakeholders range from the ministries of health who have the capacity to grant government subsidies for eye care, down to the primary healthcare workers who can be enrolled to screen for basic eye diseases. Advocacy is a tool that can help service providers draw the attention of key stakeholders to a particular area of concern. By enlisting the support, endorsement and participation of a wider circle of players, advocacy can help to improve the penetration and effectiveness of the services provided. There are several factors in the external environmental that influence the eye care services - such as the availability of trained manpower, supply of eye care consumables, government rules and regulations. There are several instances where successful advocacy has helped to create an enabling environment for eye care service delivery. Providing eye care services in developing countries requires the support - either for direct patient care or for support services such as producing trained manpower or for research and dissemination. Such support, in the form of financial or other resources, can be garnered through advocacy.
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Training of an ophthalmologist in concepts and practice of community eye health
Joćo M Furtado, Van C Lansingh, Kevin L Winthrop, Bruce Spivey
September-October 2012, 60(5):365-367
Training in community eye health (CEH; public health applied to ophthalmology) complements clinical ophthalmology knowledge and enhances the physician's ability to meet the needs at the individual and community level in the context of VISION 2020. The upcoming version of the ophthalmological residency curriculum that was developed by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) includes a new, specific section on CEH. It has basic, standard, advanced and very advanced levels of goals (the last one is exclusively for fellows/master students), and provides a public health approach to the main causes of blindness and low vision. The number of individuals aged ≥60 years is increasing twice as fast as the number of ophthalmologists, and as this age group is more likely to become blind/visually impaired, accessibility to eye care in the near future might be suboptimal even in wealthier countries. In order to achieve VISION 2020 goals, it is necessary to train more ophthalmologists and other eye care workers. However, the adoption of CEH component of the ICO curriculum for ophthalmology residents will enable them to meet local needs for eye care.
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Millennium development goals and eye health
Hannah B Faal
September-October 2012, 60(5):411-415
In September 2000, world leaders made a commitment to build a more equitable, prosperous and safer world by 2015 and launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the previous year, the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness in partnership launched the global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020-VISION 2020 the Right to Sight. It has focused on the prevention of a disability-blindness and recognized a health issue-sight as a human right. Both global initiatives have made considerable progress with synergy especially on MDG 1-the reduction of poverty and the reduction in numbers of the blind. A review of the MDGs has identified the need to address disparities within and between countries, quality, and disability. Noncommunicable diseases are emerging as a challenge to the MDGs and Vision 2020:0 the Right to Sight. For the future, up to and beyond 2015, there will be need for both initiatives to continue to work in synergy to address present and emerging challenges.
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