Prevalence of eye diseases and visual impairment among the rural population – a case study of Temerloh hospital
Objective: To determine the prevalence of eye diseases and visual impairment among new patients at the eye clinic of Hospital Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Temerloh, Pahang. Method: In this cross-sectional prospective study, 1081 new patients were examined over a period of six months. Age, gender, ethnicity, visual acuity and diagnosis were noted from the medical records. Results: Out of 1081 examined, 607 (56.1%) were males, 783 (72.4%) were Malays. The mean age of patients was 45.2 years (ranging from one month to 91 years). Cataract (248, 22.9%) was the most common eye disease, followed by retinal diseases (124, 11.5%) and ocular trauma (106, 9.8%). Majority of the patients (48) suffering from ocular trauma had foreign body cornea. In 85 premature infants screened for retinopathy, 19 showed different stages of retinopathy of prematurity. Visual impairment was noted in 89 (8.2%) patients, severe visual impairment in 12 (1.1%) and blindness in 35 (3.2%); vision could not be determined in 85 premature infants (7.9%). Cataract was singled out as the cause of severe visual impairment in 11 out of 12 patients. Conclusion: Health education at primary health centres and availability of eye specialists in all the district hospitals will facilitate the rehabilitation of visually impaired and blind persons by providing early treatment for eye problems (specifically prescription for spectacles, medical treatment and cataract surgery with intraocular lens implantation).
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