Changing patterns of cataract services in north-west Nigeria: 2005-2016

Journal: PLoS one


This study was conducted to assess the impact of the eye care programme on cataract blindness and cataract surgical services in Sokoto, Nigeria over a 12 year period 2005-2016. In 2005 the unadjusted prevalence of bilateral cataract blindness (<3/60) in people 50 years and over in Wurno health zone was 5.6% (95% CI: 3.1, 10.1). By 2016 this had fallen to 2.1% (95% CI 1.5%, 2.7%), with the age-sex adjusted prevalence being 1.9% (95% CI 1.3%, 2.5%). The CSC for persons with visual acuity <3/60, <6/60, <6/18 for Wurno health zone was 9.1%, 7.1% and 5.5% respectively in 2005 and this had increased to 67.3%, 62.1% and 34.7% respectively in 2016.

The CSR in Sokoto state increased from 272 (1,005 operations) in 2006, to 596 (2799 operations) in 2014. In the 2005 survey, couching (a procedure used by traditional practitioners to dislocate the lens into the vitreous cavity) accounted for 87.5% of all cataract interventions, compared to 45.8% in the 2016 survey participants. In 2016 18% of eyes having a cataract operation with IOL implantation had a presenting visual acuity of <6/60 (poor outcome) with the main causes being postoperative complications (53%) and uncorrected refractive error (29%). Between 2005 and 2016 there was a doubling in cataract surgical rate, a 7 times increase in cataract surgical coverage (<3/60), and a decrease in cataract blindness and the proportion of eyes being couched. However, there remains a high prevalence of unoperated cataract in 2016 indicating a need to further improve access to affordable and good quality cataract surgical services.

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Publication details
Date published
17 August 2017
Journal article