Original Research

Introducing low vision care into the Government eye care services in South Africa

A. O. Oduntan
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 66, No 4 | a253 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v66i4.253 | © 2007 A. O. Oduntan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 December 2007 | Published: 19 December 2007

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Abstract

There are many visually impaired people all over the world including South Africa, unfortunately, vision rehabilitation services are lacking  in many countries. Currently in South Africa, low vision care is offered by a few private optometric practitioners, optometric institutions and non-governmental organizations. Although most of the major Government hospitals in the country provide ophthalmological services to patients, only a few of these provide optometric services and none provides low vision care services yet.  
There is therefore, a great need to increase vision rehabilitation services in the country.  There are plans to introduce optometry sections into government hospitals in every Province of South Africa and these plans include introduction of low vision care as part of the optometric services.   There is, therefore a need for
information on how to introduce  low vision care services into existing optometry facilities in the Government hospitals and those that may be established in the future.   The purpose of the article is to discuss how low vision services can be introduced into public eye care facilities. Issues relating to rehabilitation of visually impaired patients, low vision care, infrastructure, equipment, low vision devices and human resources are discussed in this paper.   To justify the facility needs, basic information on assessment procedure of low vision patients is included.  Also, names and contact details of a few companies supplying low vision devices in South Africa are provided.  The contents of this article will be
useful to health care managers in the government hospitals; especially those in charge of the optometry services as well as the optometrists who may wish to work in the low vision care sections in Government hospitals.

Keywords

Vision rehabilitation; Blindness; Low vision care; Optometrists; Government hospitals in South Africa.

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