Original Research

Keratoconus in the West Region of Cameroon: Stakeholder knowledge and management

Enowntai N. Ayukotang, Vanessa R. Moodley, Khathutshelo P. Mashige
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 83, No 1 | a905 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v83i1.905 | © 2024 Enowntai Nkongho Ayukotang, Vanessa Raquel Moodley, Khathutshelo Percy Mashige | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2023 | Published: 21 May 2024

About the author(s)

Enowntai N. Ayukotang, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon; and Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vanessa R. Moodley, 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

Abstract

Background: Adequate knowledge and skills by eyecare personnel and administrators are essential for the early diagnosis and prompt management of keratoconus (KC).

Aim: This study aimed to determine the knowledge and skills of key stakeholders on KC management in eyecare facilities of Bafoussam, West Region of Cameroon.

Setting: Eyecare facilities in the West Region of Cameroon.

Methods: A qualitative study, using a purposive (non-probability) sampling technique, was applied to collect data relevant to this study. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from eyecare personnel and administrators. Eyecare personnel in this study comprised optometrists, ophthalmic nurses and optometric technicians, who are trained to World Council of Optometry (WCO) competency level one or two. There were no ophthalmologists working at the study sites. Data obtained were captured, de-identified and stored in a password-protected electronic file. Data were coded and analysed applying a deductive thematic analysis approach.

Results: There were 21 participants (five administrators and 16 eyecare professionals) from five facilities. Fourteen (66.6%) were males; 10 (47.6%) had 11–20 years of work experience. The majority of the participants had limited or no knowledge of KC. They reported an undersupply of KC diagnostic equipment and consumables at facilities, resulting in poor diagnosis and management of KC patients.

Conclusion: The study revealed inadequate knowledge, training and skills of eyecare practitioners and administrators on KC. Deficiencies in KC diagnosis and management could cause visual impairment with a potential negative impact on the quality of life (QoL) of KC patients.

Contribution: This study illustrates the need to procure basic equipment, capacitate eyecare workers with knowledge of KC and establish standard clinical protocols for the diagnosis and management of KC, including referral pathways.


Keywords

keratoconus; keratoconic management; eye-health personnel; Cameroon; stakeholders knowledge

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

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