Utilisation of eyecare services in an urban population in southern India: The Andhra Pradesh eye disease study

Rakhi Dandona, Lalit Dandona, Thomas J. Naduvilath, Catherine A. McCarty, Gullapalli N. Rao

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57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aim - To assess utilisation of eyecare services by people with visual impairment < 6/18 or equivalent visual field loss in the better eye in the urban population of Hyderabad in southern India. Methods - 2522 subjects of all ages, representative of the population of Hyderabad city, underwent a detailed interview and dilated examination as part of the population based Andhra Pradesh eye disease study. Subjects more than 15 years of age were interviewed regarding the use of eyecare services. Results - Of 250 subjects with presenting distance visual acuity < 6/18 or equivalent visual field loss in the better eye, information on utilisation of eyecare services was available for 229 (91.6%). Of these 229 subjects, 44 (19%) had visual acuity < 6/60 or equivalent visual field loss in the better eye, and 202 (88.2%) had noticed decrease in vision over the past 5 years. Multivariate analysis showed that this decrease in vision was noticed significantly less by subjects with refractive error as the cause of visual impairment (odds ratio 0.34, 95% confidence interval 0.12-0.93). Of the 229 subjects who were visually impaired, 108 (59%) did not seek treatment. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds for seeking treatment were significantly lower for Hindus than Muslims (odds ratio 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.98). The reasons for not seeking treatment could be classified as personal (49.5%), economic (30.8%), and social (19.6%). Conclusion - A large proportion of subjects with visual impairment in this urban population in India did not seek treatment even after noticing decrease in vision. Projecting these data to the 155 million urban population > 15 years of age in India, there may be 4.9 million (95% confidence interval 4.3-5.5 million) people in urban India who are not seeking treatment for their visual impairment even after noticing decrease in vision. These data suggest that efforts have to be made to better understand the reasons for this phenomenon so that optimal utilisation of the available eyecare services in urban India can be planned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2000

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