1. WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR?
In November 2014, Naweza launched its first optometry initiative at the Lewa and Fluorspar clinics. Our goal was to train staff to conduct basic visual acuity examinations and to build a basic supply chain to procure reading and prescription glasses for patients who need them. We worked with Dr. Sidiqa Rajani to conduct training and sourced an auto-refractor, trial lens kit and Snellen charts for the Fluorspar clinic.
Lewa: Staff at the Lewa clinic received basic training in visual acuity examinations and eye health, and Dr. Rajani saw a large number of patients to determine the key needs of the patient population.
Fluorspar: Several clinicians at the Fluorspar clinic received comprehensive training in visual acuity examinations, performed examinations under the supervision of Dr. Rajani, and are now capable of conducting a basic visual acuity examination by themselves. They have a supply of reading glasses to dispense, and will work with us to dispense prescription glasses.
2. WHAT DID WE FIND?
General Eye Health – Many patients complained of red, itchy eyes; upon examination, Dr. Rajani determined that most did not have allergies or conjunctivitis, but long-term redness and itchiness due to dehydration, improper eye hygiene, and the dry environmental conditions in the area.
Myopia, Hyperopia & Presbyopia – Presbyopia is common amongst older patients; myopia is fairly common in the general population as well. Of the 101 patients recorded at one site, 31 pairs of prescription glasses were dispensed. Most prescriptions were fairly low (below power of +/- 2), but there were two extreme cases with powers greater than +/- 10
Cataracts – Cataracts are a major issue amongst older patients. Of 101 patients recorded at one site, Dr. Rajani diagnosed 31 cases of cataracts. Cataract surgery is a prohibitively expensive surgery for likely all of these patients.
Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and other conditions – Due to lack of equipment, Dr. Rajani was unable to fully evaluate the extent of these problems among the patient population. We aim to bring the proper equipment to diagnose ocular conditions in our next trip.