AIM: A blindness prevalence survey in 1996 indicated that estimates of 40000 are blind from cataracts in Kano state, northwestern Nigeria. Many more were severely visually impaired. Eye care personnel and other resources for eye care delivery are located at the state capital. The state Ministry of Health organized an outreach program. The aim was to operate on 750 cataract patients and measure the visual acuity at two weeks follow up.
METHOD: Patients were registered and examined. Cataract patients with accurate four quadrant light projection, briskly reacting pupils and normal intra ocular pressures were selected and had manual extra capsular cataract extraction with posterior chamber intra ocular lens implantation. Post operative medications were administered. Patients were reviewed at 2 weeks follow up after discharge during which their visual acuity was measured and recorded.
RESULTS: 868 cataract patients were operated. Thirty two percent of the patients were blind before surgery and 77% of these had bilateral cataracts. The proportion of those who had posterior chamber intra ocular lens (PC IOL) was 85%. The proportion of patients who regained normal vision was 43% and overall, 94% had vision of 6/60 or, better after surgery compared with 20% in this category before surgery, (WHO vision category 0 and 1).
CONCLUSION: Cataract outreach service is essential in reducing cataract blindness. There is need to follow up patients although the vision recorded for this study was obtained at two weeks follow up.
Cataract, Outreach, Nigeria