Barriers to utilization of cataract surgical services in Ekiti State, South Western Nigeria
Objective: To ascertain the barriers to utilization of cataract surgery in Ekiti State, south western Nigeria.
Methods: A semistructured questionnaire was used to extract relevant data from cataract patients seen during six episodes of free eye screening conducted quarterly across the three senatorial districts of the state for a 15-month period. The questionnaire contains relevant biodata and reasons why the patients did not utilized facilities for routine cataract surgery prior to the screening exercise. The data obtained were coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15.
Results: A total of 132 patients were analyzed for the study, The study group comprised 64 males (48.5%) and 68 females (51.5%). Age range 16-95 years with a mean of 64.8 years ± SD 16.5. Forty of them (30.3%) were bilaterally blind, whereas 92 (69.7%) were uniocularly blind from cataract. The most common reason for not utilizing routine cataract surgical services was financial constraint as claimed by 65 (49.2%) of them; other reasons include ignorance 38 (28.8%), medical illness 24 (18.2%), and fear 5 (3.8%).
Conclusion: Financial constraint is the most common barrier to utilization of routine cataract surgery in Ekiti, State. Ignorance is also a significant factor in our environment.
Keywords: Blindness, cataract surgery, eye care barrier