What Nigerian ophthalmologists do for their irreversibly blind patients
AbstractThe diagnosis of irreversible blindness (IB) is a traumatic one for both the ophthalmologist and the patient, because of the finality of the patient's loss of sight. There are supportive measures that an ophthalmologist could provide to ensure a dignified and productive life for the blind patient. This communication examines the types of care that a cross section of Nigerian ophthalmologists provide for their IB patents. Semi-structured questionnaires were distributed to each consenting Ophthalmologists that attended an annual professional national Congress of Opthalmologists in 2004. The questions probed their experience in the management of the IB, treatment options being offered such as: Counselling, supportive ophthalmic care, referral to schools for the blind and/or any available supportive or rehabilitative facilities, and outright discharge of patients from further ophthalmic care. Sixty-five out of the 69 ophthalmologists who responded (94.2%) have managed an IB patient before. Seventeen ophthalmologists gave single treatment option and they comprise 6 who counsel (c), 2 who gave supportive ophthalmic care ((S) and 9 who referred ( R ) ). Twenty-four ophtalmologists (35.8%) gave a combination of treatment options that included C,S and R; 11(16.4%) gave C and R. Seven (10.4%) gave C,S; 4(5.9%) gave S,R, while 2(2.9%) gave R,C,S and D. One (1.5) each gave D,R, and C,S and D. None of the ophthalmologists discharged his or her IB patient without having given one or more of the other treatment options. Most of the respondents ophthalmologists have managed and IB patient in their practice. Most counsel their IB patients, give appropriate ophthalmic care, and refer for supportive/ rehabilitative services.
Keywords: Nigerian ophthalmologists, blindness, blind rehabilitation, counseling
The Tropical Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 13(1) 2006: 36-39
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