Original Research

Utilisation of eye and skin care, and social services among persons with albinism in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Zuzile Zungu, Khathutshelo P. Mashige
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 78, No 1 | a484 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v78i1.484 | © 2019 Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Zuzile Zungu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 November 2018 | Published: 25 September 2019

About the author(s)

Zuzile Zungu, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Knowledge of the utilisation of eye and skin care, and social services among persons with albinism is essential for planning intervention strategies for this group.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the utilisation of eye and skin care, and social services among persons with albinism in the Ulundi Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.

Setting: The Ulundi Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Methods: The cross-sectional survey used a questionnaire to collect data from 21 participants living with albinism. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted in small peer groups.

Results: The participants (n = 21; males 8 and females 13) were aged 4 to 60 years (mean = 24.5 ± 17.9 years). All participants reported that they had their eyes tested within the last two years by an optometrist and none by an ophthalmologist. Almost half (42.9%) had never used a low vision device, this being because of their non-availability (44.4%), financial constraints (33.3%) and lack of or poor awareness (22.2%). Participants reported wearing a wide-brimmed hat (47.6%), a combination of wide-brimmed-hats and sunglasses (33.3%) for eye protection and 19% reported using neither. All the participants reported that they used sunscreen with sun protection factor and 90.5% reported using long-sleeved shirts for skin protection. The majority (81%) of participants reported receiving the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) social (visual disability) grant, with 85.7% knowing where the SASSA offices were located.

Conclusion: Despite the poor use of low vision aids, the level of utilisation of eye and skin care, and other social services among participants was good.


Keywords

albinism; utilisation; eye care services; eye protection; skin care; social services

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