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Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;37(8):780-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2009.02152.x.

Cataract in central Sri Lanka: cataract surgical coverage and self-reported barriers to cataract surgery.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Adelaide and South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Australia. athanasiov@yahoo.com

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine the cataract surgical coverage and investigate the barriers to cataract surgery in the Kandy District of central Sri Lanka.

METHODS:

A population-based, cross-sectional ophthalmic survey of the inhabitants of rural villages in central Sri Lanka was conducted; there were 1721 eligible subjects and 1375 participated (79.9% participation rate). The recorded data included age, gender, education, district, corrected visual acuity, dilated slit-lamp examination and stereoscopic fundus examination. Lens opacity was graded using the Lens Opacities Classification System III. Participants with cataract-induced visual impairment (acuity <6/18 in the better eye) were also invited to respond to a verbal questionnaire about barriers to cataract surgery.

RESULTS:

Cataract surgical coverage per individual for visual acuity cut-offs of <6/18, <6/60 and <3/60 was 41.9%, 76.8% and 82.7%, respectively; and per eye was 34.0%, 60.3% and 65.2%, respectively. Cataract surgical coverage was higher for men than women, and two-thirds refused referral for surgery, for the following reasons: no desire to improve vision, fear of surgery and lack of awareness were the most frequently reported barriers.

SUMMARY:

Cataract surgical coverage in central Sri Lanka is higher than that in neighbouring developing regions. Surgical uptake may be improved through better community education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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