Line separator

RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Presbyopia: A Pilot Investigation of the Barriers and Benefits of Near Visual Acuity Correction among a Rural Filipino Population

AUTHOR:

T.J. Wubben , C.M. Guerrero, M. Salum , G. S. Wolfe, G.P. Giovannelli and D.J. Ramsey

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2014

PUBLICATION:

BMC Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 6% of the study participants were found to have uncorrected refractive error.

  • Reading glasses improved near vision in 77.7% of the participants having near vision impairment.

  • Over 75% of the participants also showed improvement in stereoacuity.

  • Cost, rather than availability, was perceived to be the greater barrier to the procurement of glasses.

  • 84% of the participants reported that the glasses dispensed would greatly improve their ability to earn a living.

Abstract

Background: Presbyopia is the age-related decline in accommodation that diminishes the ability of the eye to focus on near objects. Presbyopia is common and easy to correct; however, many communities lack access to basic eye care. The purpose of this project was to assess the burden of uncorrected presbyopia in a rural Filipino population and to pilot an intervention aimed at increasing access to reading glasses in the community.

Methods: Individuals above the age of 40 who presented to a health outreach in the Philippines were invited to undergo a near vision exam to detect the presence of functional presbyopia and be fitted with ready-made, single-vision glasses. The change in stereoacuity was used as a surrogate measure of functional improvement after near vision correction. A questionnaire was administered to assess this population’s perceived barriers and benefits to correcting near vision.


Results: The average age of the participants was 57 ± 11 years, with 87.6% of participants having an uncorrected near visual acuity of <20/50. Reading glasses improved near vision to 20/40 or better in 77.7% of participants having near-vision impairment (uncorrected near visual acuity of <20/40). Over 75% of participants also showed improvement in stereoacuity. Cost, rather than availability, was perceived to be the greater barrier to the procurement of glasses, and 84% of participants reported that the glasses dispensed would greatly improve their ability to earn a living.


Conclusions: Dispensing ready-made, single-vision glasses is a simple and cost-effective intervention to improve near vision and enhance depth perception. A greater understanding of the barriers and benefits to correcting near vision will inform the design and execution of a sustainable program to correct presbyopia in developing countries.