Refractive error, eye care needs and attitude towards spectacle wearing among older Zanzibari craftswomen and implications for developing women-targeted services: a cross-sectional study

Ving Fai Chan, Fatma Omar, Adrianna Farmer, Omar Othman, Ai Chee Yong, Christine Graham, Carlos Price-Sanchez, Ronnie Graham, Michelle Fernandes Martins, Eden Mashayo

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Abstract

Background Aged Zanzibari women are in a disadvantaged position, having high demand for near-vision spectacles. Currently, there is no information on the eye health status of craftswomen, which makes planning a women-targeted project to deliver eye health services to older craftswomen in Zanzibar difficult. We assessed the prevalence of vision impairment, refractive error, presbyopia, effective spectacle coverage (distance and near) and attitude towards spectacle wearing among older Zanzibari craftswomen.

Methods and analysis This was a cross-sectional study. Unaided and presenting distance and near vision of craftswomen 35 years and older were assessed at the women’s co-operatives. We determined the number of those with distance vision poorer than 6/12 and their causes (distance-vision impairment), the number of those with near vision poorer than N8 at 40 cm (presbyopia) and the number of those whose distance and/or near-vision needs were met adequately with their habitual spectacles (effective distance and near spectacle coverages). A piloted and validated questionnaire (15 statements) was used to determine their attitude towards spectacle wearing.

Results In all, 263 craftswomen participated in the survey (mean age 52.1 years±9.4 years). The prevalence of distance vision impairment among the craftswomen was 29.7% (95% CI 24.2% to 35.6%), the primary cause being uncorrected refractive error (n=51, 65.4%), and none were corrected. The prevalence of presbyopia was 86.6% (95% CI 81.5% to 90.7%, n=231) and the effective near spectacle coverage was 0.99%. The craftswomen showed a positive attitude towards spectacle wearing (strongly agree or agree) based on 12 out of 15 statements.

Conclusion The high burden of vision impairment, uncorrected distance refractive error and presbyopia, and a positive attitude towards spectacle wearing among older craftswomen in Zanzibar indicated the need for women-targeted eye health programmes in low-resource settings.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001283
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open Ophthalmology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • optics and refraction
  • public health
  • vision

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