PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence and impact on vision and visual function of ocular comorbidities in a rural Chinese cataract surgical program, and to devise strategies to reduce their associated burden. DESIGN: Cross-sectional cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Persons undergoing cataract surgery by one of two recently trained local surgeons at a government-run village-level hospital in rural Guangdong between August 8 and December 31, 2005. INTERVENTIONS: Eligible subjects were invited to return for a comprehensive ocular examination and visual function interview 10 to 14 months after surgery. Prevalent ocular comorbid conditions were identified. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presenting and best-corrected vision, visual function, and treatability of the comorbidity. RESULTS: Of 313 persons operated within the study window, 242 (77%) could be contacted by telephone; study examinations and interviews were performed on 176 (74%). Examined subjects had a mean age of 69.4+/-10.5 years, 116 (66%) were female, and 149 (85%) had been blind (presenting vision < or = 6/60) in the operative eye before surgery. Among unoperated eyes, 89 of 109 (81.7%) had > or =1 ocular comorbidities, whereas for operated eyes the corresponding proportion was 72 of 211 (34.1%). The leading comorbidity among operated eyes was refractive error (43/72 [59.7%]), followed by glaucoma/glaucoma suspect (14/72 [19.4%]), whereas for unoperated eyes, it was cataract (80/92 [87.0%]), followed by refractive error (12/92 [13.0%]). Among operated eyes with comorbidities, 90.3% (65/72) had > or =1 comorbidities that were treatable. In separate models adjusting for age and gender, persons with > or =1 comorbidities in the operated eye had significantly worse presenting vision (P<0.001) than those without such findings, but visual function (P = 0.197) and satisfaction with surgery (P = 0.796) were unassociated with comorbidities. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular comorbidities are highly prevalent among persons undergoing cataract surgery in this rural Asian setting, and their presence is significantly associated with poorer visual outcomes. The fact that the great majority of comorbidities encountered in this program are treatable suggests that strategies to reduce their impact can be successful.
|Publication status||Published - 2007|