December 2010
Volume 51, Issue 12
Free
Letters to the Editor  |   December 2010
Presbyopic Spectacles in Elderly Tanzanians
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Celestin Habiyakare
    Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, Moshi, Tanzania; and
  • Susan Lewallen
    the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Good Samaritan Foundation, Moshi, Tanzania.
  • Paul Courtright
    the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Good Samaritan Foundation, Moshi, Tanzania.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science December 2010, Vol.51, 6897-6898. doi:10.1167/iovs.10-5649
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    • Get Citation

      Celestin Habiyakare, Susan Lewallen, Paul Courtright; Presbyopic Spectacles in Elderly Tanzanians. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(12):6897-6898. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-5649.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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We enjoyed reading the article by Laviers et al., 1 describing a methodology, appended to a RAAB (rapid assessment of avoidable blindness) survey, for measuring the prevalence of presbyopia and presbyopic spectacle coverage. The article provides more evidence of the importance of presbyopia as a condition affecting quality of life, even among those who may not read. It was interesting that there was no difference in coverage between males and females. 
By simply adding a question asking each participant if he or she owned near-vision spectacles we learned several interesting things during the Kilimanjaro RAAB. 2 Overall spectacle ownership was 10.9% (95% CI, 9.9–11.9), and the men were 1.42 times (95% CI, 1.14–1.76) more likely than the women to have spectacles. Of interest, people 50 to 70 years of age were 1.42 times (95% CI, 1.11–1.81) more likely to have spectacles than those older, independent of presenting visual acuity. Finally, there were significant differences in spectacle ownership among the different clusters making up the RAAB sample, suggesting that availability of spectacles in the village is an important factor. Sex, age, and cluster all remained associated with spectacle ownership in multiple logistic regression (P = 0.001, 0.05, and <0.001, respectively). That (independent of visual acuity) the individuals aged 50 to 70 years were more likely to have spectacles than were the older individuals (who presumably need them more) may indicate more demand for good vision and more willingness to pay for it in the younger group. It could also mean that the older people did not have enough money for spectacles. 
Spectacle ownership in a population-based group older than age 50 is not exactly the same as presbyopic spectacle coverage in the same group; however, it is a reasonable proxy for coverage, adds nothing to the cost of the RAAB, and provides valuable information for planners. 
References
Laviers HR Omar F Jecha H Kassim G Gilbert C . Presbyopic spectacle coverage, willingness to pay for near correction and the impact of correcting uncorrected presbyopia in adults in Zanzibar, East Africa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51:1234–1241. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Habiyakire C Kabona G Courtright P Lewallen S . Rapid assessment of avoidable blindness and cataract surgical services in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2010;17:90–94. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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