Cataract Surgical Outreach in a Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria: An Appraisal
Background: Cataract remains the main cause of reversible blindness in Nigeria. However, access to cataract surgery has been hampered by lack of funds and a dearth of eye care professionals. Surgical outreaches have been used as one of the tools to reduce the cataract backlog. Aim: To review a free cataract surgical outreach in a tertiary hospital funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: A three-day free cataract surgical outreach at the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan was organised at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City. The records of all patients who had cataract surgery during the program were retrieved. The demographics, ocular assessment, surgical notes, post-operative and follow-up data were extracted and collated. Data was analysed using Microsoft Excel 2007(Microsoft Corporation Inc, Washington, USA). Results: A total of 209 patients had cataract surgery made of 134/209(64.1%) males and 75/209(35.9%) females. The mean age of the patients was 61.8(14.5) years (range 20 to 89 years). The majority of the patients, 137/209(65.6%) were ≥ 60 years and 145/209(69.4%) of the beneficiaries were low income earners. A total of 130/209(62.2%) patients had never been seen by an eye care specialist. Conclusion: There is a great need to improve access to eye care services in general and cataract surgical services specifically.
Keywords: Cataract blindness, Cataract surgery, Surgical outreach