Gaps in cataract treatment

Illiterate, rural women in Nigeria and Pakistan have poorer cataract outcomes than any other social group, new research reveals

06 Mar 2017 by Selina Powell

New research has shed light on cataract blindness and treatment inequalities. Using data from Nigeria and Pakistan, researchers found that the prevalence of cataract blindness increased with each level of social disadvantage.

The study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found that men who needed cataract surgery in Nigeria were twice as likely as women to receive it. Literate, urban men in the country were seven times more likely to receive surgery than illiterate, rural women.

The research, which was co-authored by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found that illiterate, rural women fared worse than any other social group in both Nigeria and Pakistan.

Lead author, Dr Jacqueline Ramke, told OT that historically research on cataract blindness and inequality tended to focus on differences between men and women.

“This research aimed to assess how cataract blindness and cataract services varied among women and men when their place of residence and literacy status were considered simultaneously,” Dr Ramke explained.

The research highlighted that there were some sub-groups that were particularly vulnerable to poor eye health, she said.

“This knowledge can inform strategies to target resources towards those most in need,” Dr Ramke concluded. 

Image credit: Shane T McCoy


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