An Eye Care Outreach Programme in the Federal Capital Territory
To describe an eye care outreach programme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the findings therefrom.
Main Outcome Measures: Causes of blindness and ocular morbidity, prevalence of blindness.
Methods: The programme was sponsored largely by the Bartimaeus Trust. Eighteen communities with a total population of 1083, all within two hours or less of commuting distance to the city of Abuja, were included in the outreach programme. The communities were a mixture of urban, semi-urban and rural. The subjects were volunteers who responded to electronic, poster and other forms of publicity for free eye examinations.
Findings: The programme was well received by the communities. The major causes of ocular morbidity were refractory errors (40.4%), allergic/vernal conjunctivitis (18%), pterygium (7.2%) and cataracts (3.0%). Prevalence of blindness was 2.7% among the examined population. The main causes of blindness were cataracts (37%), aphakia mainly from couching (18.5%), glaucoma (14.8%), and pathological myopia (14.8%).
Conclusions: Outreach programmes are useful for the social marketing of eye care services, and to identify major eye problems within a given catchment area. Cataracts are still a major problem within the FCT and more needs to be done to reduce the backlog. The rarity of onchocerciasis is remarkable but is probably attributable to recent population influx.
[Nig. J. Ophthalmology Vol.11(1) 2003: 12-15]