Aim: To conduct a Rapid Assessment of Cataract Surgical Services estimate the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment in the population aged ≥40 years in Limbe Urban Area, Cameroon.
Methods: Clusters of 50 people aged ≥40 years were sampled with probability proportionate to size. Compact segment sampling was used to select households within clusters. All eligible people had their visual acuity (VA) measured by an ophthalmic nurse. An ophthalmologist examined people with VA < 6/18.
Results: 2,215 people were examined (response rate= 92.3%). The prevalence of bilateral blindness was 1.1% (95% CI: 0.7-1.5%), 0.3% (0.1 -0.6%) for severe visual impairment and 3.0% (2.0 - 4.0%) for visual impairment. Posterior segment disease was the leading cause of blindness (29%), followed by cataract (21%) and optic atrophy (21%). Cataract was the most common cause of severe visual impairment (43%) and visual impairment (48%). Most cases of blindness (50%), severe visual impairment (57%) and visual impairment (78%) were avoidable (i.e. cataract, refractive error, corneal scar, onchocerciasis and phthisis/no globe). The cataract surgical coverage was relatively high, although 57% of operated eyes had poor outcome (presenting VA<6/60).
Conclusions: Although the prevalence of blindness was relatively low, most of the cases were avoidable. The implementation of an effective eye care programme remains a priority in Limbe Urban Area.
- visual impairment
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