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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 77-82

Establishing a pediatric ophthalmology service in malawi: Developments in childhood cataract surgery

1 Vision 2020 Glasgow-Blantyre Link, Glasgow Team, Scotland, UK
2 Lions Sight First Eye Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Aaron Jamison
Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Gartnavel General Hospital, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0YN
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/meajo.MEAJO_35_18

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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to report on the establishment of a Pediatric Ophthalmology Service for Malawi using childhood cataract surgery as a surrogate measure of its effectiveness. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of pediatric cataract surgery at Lions Sight First Eye Hospital, Blantyre, between 2011 and 2016. The paucity of comprehensive records allowed for the sampling of a maximum of 25 cases/year (n = 150) for comparison. Theatre records and population statistics were used to calculate childhood cataract surgical rates (CCSR). RESULTS: A total of 949 cataract operations were performed during the six years studied – 55.8% of these were boys. The number of operations per year remained generally stable. Of the 150 cases reviewed, the mean age at presentation was 6.01 years, with a trend toward a slightly younger age over the period. Over the years studied, the geographical distribution of referrals became more reflective of the population's distribution. Where the logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (LogMAR) visions were available, these demonstrated a mean improvement from 2.008 (n = 43) preoperatively to 0.613 (n = 51) postoperatively. The mean follow-up was 106 days (0 days–3.25 years). Complication rates were low. The CCSR was 9.2/million population. CONCLUSIONS: A Pediatric Ophthalmology Service has been established in Malawi delivering safe, effective surgery on a country-wide scale for childhood cataract. Over the period studied, the age at presentation reduced, and there was an improvement in the geographical distribution of patients, likely due to an improvement in referral systems throughout Malawi.

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