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Jordan J Lee, Lisa Park; Survey of Current Cataract Surgery Practices in Ethiopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1923.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness and low vision in Ethiopia. Greater than 0.5 million people are blind and approximately 1.2 million are severely visually impaired by this reversible condition.1 It is estimated that in East Africa there are between 3,000 and 10,000 new cases per million population each year.2 Current resources are insufficient to meet the surgical need, and the most commonly performed procedure is extracapsular cataract extraction. There are approximately 108 ophthalmologists in Ethiopia. 3 most of whom are not trained in phacoemulsification. The purpose of this study is to determine current practices in Ethiopian cataract surgery and the adoption of modern phacoemulsification techniques.
An online questionnaire was administered during the Annual Meeting of the Ophthalmologic Society of Ethiopia held in Addis Ababa on October 3 & 4, 2014. All ophthalmologists present at this meeting were invited to participate. Information on current practices were collected and collated.
30 surveys were completed. Average number of years in practice was 10 years (std dev = 6, range =2 to 23 years). 100% of respondents reported currently performing extracapsular cataract extraction. Numbers of ECCE performed per year ranged <300 n=9, 300-500 n=10, 500-1000, n=9, >500 n=2. 9 ophthalmologists reported that they have performed phacoemulsification. Total number of phaco cases per surgeon ranged from 10-2000. Teaching programs where surgeons learned phaco included the following: Aravind n=3, Vision Care Seoul n=2, Nepal n=2, Orbis n=2, HCP n=1, Caribbean n=1. 82% of surgeons reported watching cataract surgery on the internet. 52% of them were on Youtube. 18% of them were on the ASCRS website and 12% from the AAO website.
The current level of cataract surgery in Ethiopia is insufficient to meet the current clinical needs. Implementing more teaching programs for phacoemulsification may help increase availability of cataract surgery and achieve the “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight” targets for treating avoidable blindness.
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