Original Research

Burden of eye conditions at a specialised eye hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Vincent F. Verwey, Saajida Mahomed
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 79, No 1 | a518 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v79i1.518 | © 2020 Vincent F. Verwey, Saajida Mahomed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 June 2019 | Published: 21 May 2020

About the author(s)

Vincent F. Verwey, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Saajida Mahomed, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Background: Comprehension of the burden of eye diseases in an area is essential for adequate budgeting and resource allocation.

Aim: The aim of the study was to describe the epidemiology of the presenting eye conditions at a provincial eye hospital.

Setting: A retrospective audit was conducted of first-time presenting patients at the McCord Provincial Eye Hospital over a 6-month period.

Methods: This was an observational, analytic cross-sectional study. Patients’ basic demographic and diagnoses were captured. Categorical variables were summarised using frequencies and percentages. Age was summarised using the mean and standard deviation. Differences in the number of patients seen per month, week and day of the week were compared using analysis of variance.

Results: A total of 2250 new patients were seen over the 6-month period. There were more females (n = 1253, 55.7%) than males (n = 997, 44.3%). There were 186 (8.3%) patients (≤ 14 years). The three most common presenting conditions among adults were cataract (n = 743, 36.0%), posterior segment disorders (n = 397, 19.2%) and glaucoma (n = 261, 12.6%). Regarding posterior segment disorders, diabetic retinopathy was the commonest condition (n = 284, 71%), followed by retinal detachment (n = 34, 8.5%). Among the paediatric patients, the most common condition was squint (n = 55, 29.6%), followed by orbital conditions (n = 29, 15.6%) and cataract (n = 25, 13.4%).

Conclusion: Audits of the burden of eye conditions provide useful information for human resource management; appropriate allocation, as well as availability of ophthalmologic equipment and staff, can be guided by making use of such information. Further studies and surveillance of eye conditions are needed to plan for better eye health services for patient care.


eye conditions; cataract; South Africa


Total abstract views: 1490
Total article views: 2582

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.