Medical Subject Headings

Public Health Infrastructure; Developed Countries; Retrospective Studies; Astigmatism; Hyperopia


Background: Optometric services in many parts of the world are unavailable, or when available, limited to those individuals who have the resources and proximity to gain access to them. Recognizing this disparity in availability of eyecare services, teams from developed countries have been volunteering to provide eyecare in these areas with such a need for many years. Over time, these groups have also adopted a mission of enhancing the local infrastructure to create long-term improvement. Method: All records from a VOSH clinical trip to Panama were retrospectively analyzed to determine the prevalence of ocular conditions diagnosed. Results: As expected, the mean refractive error was low hyperopia, however, most astigmatism was oriented against-the-rule. There was also an earlier need for an additional near correction. There were 488 instances of non-refractive ocular conditions documented with cataracts constituting 75.6% of these. Documented measurement of intraocular pressures (IOP) demonstrated most findings fell within the accepted normal range of 11-22mmHg, however, there were occurrences above and below this range. Conclusion: The trip benefited many individuals while also highlighting the need for a long-term solution by improving the public health infrastructure. It demonstrated the immediate impact possible with short-term intervention while also diagnosing ocular conditions that would require long term management. Without an improvement in access to local care these conditions cannot be successfully treated or managed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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