Original Research

The perception amongst a population of high school students in South Africa about ocular manifestations of HIV/AIDS*

I. T. Melwa, O. A. Oduntan
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 71, No 3 | a78 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v71i3.78 | © 2012 I. T. Melwa, O. A. Oduntan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2012 | Published: 09 December 2012

About the author(s)

I. T. Melwa, Department of Optometry, School of Health Care Sciences, University of Limpopo, South Africa
O. A. Oduntan, Discipline of Optometry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Abstract

HIV and AIDS can result in visual impairment, therefore it is important that those who have or atrisk of contracting the disease have a basic knowledge of its ocular manifestations, so that they may seek eye care early. This study assessed the per-ceptions of a sample of senior high school students at the Capricorn district, Limpopo Province, South Africa about the ocular manifestations of HIV/AIDS and its management. Questionnaires were distributed to the students in their classrooms after school hours and upon completion were collected the same day. Data analysis revealed that 27.8% of the participants agreed that HIV/AIDS can affect the eyes. Another 27.8% responded that HIV/AIDS could cause dry eyes. Less than a third (31.4%) indicated that the disease could cause red eyes, 31.5% and 38.1% respectively indicated that HIV/AIDS could cause cancer of the eyelids and the eyeball.  About half of the respondents (52%) agreed that the disease could cause swollen eyelids; while about 46% agreed that vision loss or blindness could occur in HIV/AIDS.  Many (65.6%) indicated that an ophthalmologist or an optometrist should be consulted for HIV/AIDS-related eye problems and only 16.5% reported that traditional healers could be consulted. Perception about the ocular manifestations of HIV and AIDS is poor among the participants, suggesting a need for awareness campaigns and education.  (S Afr Optom 2012 71(3) 117-122)


Keywords

HIV; AIDS; ocular manifestations of HIV/AIDS

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