Original Research

A profile of patients presenting at a low vision clinic in a resource-limited setting

Zamadonda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba, Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Mawande G. Mthembu, Nkululeko S. Mazibuko, Ntombi A. Mabunda, Ahmed S. Randeree, Asharia Parsad
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 79, No 1 | a500 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v79i1.500 | © 2020 Zamadonda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba, Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Mawande G. Mthembu, Nkululeko S. Mazibuko, Ntombi A. Mabunda, Ahmed S. Randeree, Asharia Parsad | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 February 2019 | Published: 16 April 2020

About the author(s)

Zamadonda N.Q. Xulu-Kasaba, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Mawande G. Mthembu, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nkululeko S. Mazibuko, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ntombi A. Mabunda, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ahmed S. Randeree, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Asharia Parsad, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The university-based low vision clinic is one of the few low vision clinics in South Africa.

Aim: To describe demographic and clinical profiles of patients who attended this clinic from 2010 to 2017.

Setting: The university low vision clinic, South Africa.

Methods: The record cards of all patients seen at the low vision clinic over 8 years were examined and the following information was extracted: age, gender, presenting visual acuity (VA), VA following low vision assessment, cause of visual impairment and types of low vision devices recommended.

Results: A total of 621 patients were examined, comprising 45.1% males and 55.9% females aged 36.0 ± 18.2 years (range: 4–93 years). Many of these patients (33.7%) had presenting VA worse than 1.3 logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution (logMAR) (> 6/120) at 4 m in the better eye, and 196 (31.6%) had presenting VA of worse than 1.3 logMAR at near distance. Following optical low vision assessment, 62.4% had distance VA of 0.9 LogMAR (6/48) to −0.2 logMAR (6/3.8) and 58.4% had near VA of 0.9 logMAR (6/48) to −0.2 logMAR (6/3.8). Albinism (22.7%), unknown causes (18.2%), cataract (15.5%) and macular diseases (12.2%) were the most common causes of low vision. Amblyopia (80.7%) was the most common cause of low vision in patients aged 20 years and younger, followed by albinism (68.1%) and corneal diseases (41%). Cataract (78.1%), macular diseases (64.4%) and glaucoma (55.9%) were the most common causes of low vision in patients aged more than 60 years. Telescopes (33.8%) were the most commonly recommended form of intervention, followed by magnifiers (29.6%) and protective measures (24.5%).

Conclusion: Albinism, cataract and macular diseases are the predominant causes of low vision in patients attending this low vision clinic. There was a significant improvement in VA after low-vision assessment, particularly for patients with presenting VA of better than 1.3 logMAR (6/120).


Keywords

low vision; amblyopia; cataract; macular diseases; glaucoma; telescopes; magnifiers

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