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Roy Swanson, Shelley Jelineo, Humberto Choi; Eye Health Needs Assessment in Two Peruvian Populations. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):2211.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Approximately 285 million people have visual impairment worldwide, with 90% of the visually impaired living in low income regions. In rural areas in Peru, there is limited access to vision screening and treatment options for ocular disease. The aim of this study was to better understand the ophthalmologic needs of two distinct Peruvian communities. Due to differences in elevation and socioeconomic status between the communities, we predicted we would find higher percentages of cataracts and visual impairment in the Sacred Valley when compared to Chincha Alta.
A total of 388 patients in the Sacred Valley and 215 patients in Chincha who presented to the Peru Health Outreach Project free health clinics were interviewed using an eye health questionnaire in Spanish, and each patient underwent a visual exam that included: distance visual acuity using the Snellen scale and near visual acuity using the Jaeger scale. A pinhole occluder and a direct ophthalmoscope were used to screen for cataracts. The results from the two sites were analyzed using the student t-test.
There was a non-significant difference between the percentage of patients with visual impairment of 25.5% in the Sacred Valley and 19.5% in Chincha (P=0.10). The percentage of patients with at least one cataract was significantly higher in the Sacred Valley compared to Chincha, 27.4% vs 8.0% respectively (P<0.001). A significantly higher percentage of patients in Sacred Valley reported previous eye trauma compared to Chincha, 27.7% vs 11.7% (P<0.001). Symptoms associated with dry eyes were also found to be more prevalent in the Sacred Valley population when compared to Chincha.
Overall our study revealed higher percentages of cataracts, visual impairment, eye trauma, and dry eye symptoms in the Sacred Valley compared to Chincha. The Sacred Valley patients mainly live in agricultural communities at elevations of 2870 meters and higher, spending large portions of their days outdoors with intense UV radiation exposure. The population of Chincha Alta is mainly urban working-class and inhabits a much lower elevation of 420 meters. The differences in ocular disease between the two sites are most likely due to differences in socioeconomic status, occupations, elevation, and access to eye care. The results from this study highlight the high prevalence of ocular disease and a profound gap in eye care access in the Sacred Valley and Chincha Alta.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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