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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness and Cataract Surgery Coverage Among Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (Rohingya refugees) in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

AUTHOR:

A. H. M. Enayet Hussain, Munir Ahmed, Jerry E. Vincent, Johurul Islam, Yuddha D. Sapkota, Taraprasad Das, Nathan Congdon, Lutful Husain, Gulam Khandaker, Mohammad Muhit, Mohammad Awlad Hossain, Danny Haddad

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2020

PUBLICATION:

PLoS ONE

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The study aim is to determine the prevalence and causes of blindness, vision impairment and cataract surgery coverage among Rohingya refugees aged ≥ 50 years residing in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

  • A Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) methodology was used to select 76 clusters of 50 participants aged ≥ 50 years with probability proportionate to size.

  • Cataract was responsible for 75.0% of blindness and 75.8% of SVI, while refractive error caused 47.9% and 90.9% of MVI and EVI respectively.

  • Most vision loss (95.9%) was avoidable.

  • Cataract surgical coverage among the blind was 81.2%.

  • Refractive error was detected in 17.1% (n = 622) of participants and 95.2% (n = 592) of these did not have spectacles.

  • In the full Rohingya cohort of 76,692, approximately 10,000 surgeries are needed to correct all eyes impaired (<6/18) by cataract, 12,000 need distance glasses and 73,000 require presbyopic correction.

  • The prevalence of blindness was lower than expected for a displaced population, in part due to few Rohingya being ≥60 years and the camp’s good access to cataract surgery.

  • It was suggested to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to include eye care among recommended health services for all refugees with long-term displacement.