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Background: The WHO/IAPB Vision 2020 initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness ends in year 2020. Yet barriers remain towards uptake of eye surgeries.
Objectives: To identify persisting barriers to acceptance of cataract surgery and other eye surgeries in a sub- urban community in Ebonyi State Nigeria.
Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of participants of an eye camp at Nkwagu, Izzi; a sub-urban community about 10Km from
Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi state. Relevant data was collected using a structured questionnaire, and analysed using SPSS software package Version 22, and reported in simple tables showing frequencies, percentages and proportions. Barriers to uptake of cataract and other eye surgeries were identified and discussed.
Results: There was high (91.2%) awareness of and (86.1%) willingness to take up eye surgery. Relationship between awareness and education was
statistically significant (p< 0.05). The commonest barriers to uptake of surgeries were direct cost of surgery (53.9%), ignorance about location of
surgical services (52.5%) and indirect cost of surgery 43.3% (distance to the hospital [15.7%], nobody to look after my business [15.2%], and no care-taker [12.4%]) .
Conclusion: As the Vision 2020 initiative ends, the two most important barriers reported in this study are cost of eye surgery (direct and indirect) and ignorance of location of facilities offering surgical eye care services. It is recommended that a systems’ thinking approach be adopted in formulating and implementing measures to eliminate the barriers.