In many parts of Africa patients with upper-lid trichiasis due to trachoma have very limited access to ophthalmologists or hospital facilities. In order to reach these patients it is necessary for trained paramedical eye workers to operate on patients close to where they live. The results of trichiasis surgery performed by an ophthalmic nurse in Tanzania were evaluated. A total of 156 operations were performed on 94 patients over a 2 year period by an eye nurse in central Tanzania. One hundred and forty four eyes in 86 patients were followed for a minimum of 9 months (range 9-36; mean 25.5 months). One eye developed a wound infection and nine eyes developed minimal central notching of the upper eyelid, but without corneal exposure. Survival time analysis showed a probability of survival without recurrent trichiasis of 81% at 24 months (95% CI 74% to 88%) and 79% at 36 months (95% CI 71% to 87%). It is concluded that trichiasis surgery may be safely and effectively performed in the community by a trained ophthalmic nurse.
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